By IBRAHIM GRAY
Boston taxi companies have seen their business continue to plummet over the past few years, largely due to the rise of ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft.
Bostonians have lauded the apps for helping them move around the city for less money and in a shorter amount of time.
Jim O’Donnell, a Boston University professor of city planning and urban development, wrote how he believes Uber and Lyft have thrived in cities due to the innovative way they connect the same services taxis provide to one’s phone.
“When you get in a taxi cab, you don’t know what it’s going to cost, when you’re trying to hail a taxi cab, you don’t know when it’s going to come. I think that that has been a real inconvenience for a lot of people,” he stated. “Ride apps allow one to get all the information about their trip length, price and availability at their fingertips.”
Along with the taxi industry, public transportation has also taken a hit from the advent of ride-sharing. While residents might benefit from catching Ubers, a report from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council found that the city has been suffering from this switch. According to the report, the average ride-hailing trip represents 35 cents of lost revenue for the MBTA.
Efforts to combat these issues have been put in place by the Massachusetts government. Gov. Charlie Baker signed a law in 2016 issuing a charge of five cents per ride to be given to a taxi innovation fund.
MAPC has estimated that 15 percent of ride-hailing trips are taken during rush hour by people who would have otherwise used public transit. This has implications of traffic congestion, air pollution and dangerous emissions.