New data recently released by Uber and Lyft for the Seattle region says the two companies are providing more daily rides than most people thought.
According to the Seattle Times, the two companies gave more than 91,000 rides on an average day in the second quarter of 2018, according to ridership reports filed with the city. That number is more than the number of rides provided by Sound Transit light rail on an average weekday (77,576) and more than the population of Bellingham (89,045). At that rate, the companies are on track to provide more than 31 million trips this year.
Compared to numbers from the beginning of 2015, Uber and Lyft ridership has grown by more than five times. Their trips are heavily concentrated in the city’s densest neighborhoods, including downtown, Belltown, South Lake Union and Capitol Hill.
The Times, through it’s Traffic Lab project, says all those rides are also probably contributing to worsening congestion. Traffic Lab looks at the region’s transportation issues, particularly congestion.
A study out of San Francisco shows that ridesharing rides account
for 25 percent of total vehicle delays there, and are responsible for more than half of the increase in San Francisco traffic congestion from 2010 to 2016.
At the same time, and unlike almost every other major city in the country, Seattle has also seen public-transit ridership grow. Analysis says this is a result of big investments in bus service and light rail. Those services could see a decline in numbers in the future though as a study of seven American cities completed in 2017, including Seattle, found that people are less likely to use transit after using Uber and Lyft.
For their part, Uber officials say ridesharing services probably only actually account for about 1.5 percent of trips in the Seattle region and point to population growth, a health economy and people driving alone as being more of a contributor to congestion in the Seattle area. They also say ridership is growing fastest in north and south Seattle neighborhoods that may have poorer access to transit.