Especially when carpooling is added to their service, as this article from New Geography points out.
How will new carpool options like LyftLine and UberPool affect the marketplace of transit services? When mobility conversations turn to Lyft, Uber and other ridesourcing — or ridesharing — companies, the discussion typically centers on their effects on the taxicab business. Here in Chicago, Lyft and Uber recently survived a turbo-charged regulatory battle with cabbies that could have forced them to entirely withdraw from our city.
Ridesharing carpools add a new dimension to the extraordinary rise of these companies. Many users have not until recently begun experimenting with carpooling options, but by all indications their popularity is accelerating. Both LyftLine and UberPool were unveiled in summer of 2014, and then rolled out gradually.
To use LyftLine or UberPool, a rider inputs his or her location and destination on a smartphone, which then displays two options — a traditional rate, and a discounted rate for those who choose to ‘pool’. The driver of a pool may make other pickups and drop-offs. A four-mile trip on UberPool may cost around $6, whereas on UberX (the standard Uber service) it might cost $10; a taxi ride would run much higher.
In communities with lackluster public transit, carpooling fills an enormous void by giving millions without a private vehicle a new, lower cost travel option. Even in areas saturated with public transit, however, this new option promises to reshuffle how people move about.
The opportunity raises critical questions. Will significant numbers of time-sensitive travelers, including commuters, opt to use public transit less, in favor of rideshare service carpools? How much time can they expect to save? To what extent do the additional stops negate the benefits of this option, compared to using transit?