New research says ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft are making rush-hour traffic even worse in Boston, according to StreetsBlog USA.

Boston’s Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) polled 944 ride-hailing passengers in Boston about their travel habits, using questionnaires administered during ride-hailing trips. Forty-two percent said they would have taken public transit if the ride-hailing service were not available. Another 12 percent said they would have walked or biked.

Most of the trips either began or terminated in the center of the region — the area with the worst traffic congestion and the best transit access.

Based on those results and time-of-day data, MAPC estimates that 15 percent of ride-hailing trips are being used rather than more spatially efficient modes during the morning and evening peak drive times. The findings indicate that regular transit riders are willing to pay a premium for ride-hailing trips, according to MAPC. A large share of people who substituted ride-hailing for transit — 51 percent — had unlimited fare passes.

MAPC says these substitution patterns indicate that the local transit company needs to improve bus and train service and that residents should be able to rely on the transit system instead of paying for ride-hailing services. They also say this not only makes streets more congested but also causes the transit agency to lose far revenue.


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