Need a Ride? Uber Can Take You (Away From Public Transportation)
Kern, Andreas T
The sharing economy is changing how people work, move, and interact. At the forefront of an evolving transportation market is Uber, a Transportation Network Company that has successfully integrated technology into mobility. By providing a cheap and convenient service, it has disrupted traditional forms of travel and commuting in private automobiles and public transportation. This paper uses a difference-in-differences approach to analyze Uber’s effect on the consumption of public transit in urban cities across the United States. The results from this study find that Uber is a substitute to public transportation in aggregate, but the effect varies considerably across cities and modes. In particular, Uber replaces bus travel but complements rail such as metros and subways, potentially as a result of each mode’s service area network, passenger demographic, and primary reason of use. Perhaps most importantly, this study asserts that a single approach to regulating TNCs is insufficient, as Uber’s effect is not uniform across the country. Therefore, it is up to municipal governments and policymakers to understand their specific local dynamics to pinpoint how Uber is affecting their public transit systems. Broad recommendations are offered to policymakers as they continue to work with Uber and other disruptive companies.
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