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Transportation

Stop Asking Whether Uber Is Transit's Enemy

The more important question is how ride services factor into cities’ goals for mobility. A new analysis of New York City shows why.
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Tyrone Siu/Reuters

At 11 p.m. on a Thursday in February, two friends in Brooklyn are preparing for a trip home from Park Slope to Bed-Stuy. They’re both new in town, and they study their Google Maps options closely: Taking the subway means a 15-minute walk to a station on the F line, where their train coming in from Manhattan had been delayed 20 minutes. Then they’d have to transfer to the C, with a likely wait time of 10 or 15 minutes. To travel three miles, this could be an hour-long adventure.

The friends could probably walk in the same amount of time, or pedal home in 20 minutes using bike-share, but the weather is freezing. They check Lyft: Splitting a pooled ride with one another (and perhaps an extra stranger) means paying $7 for a roughly 25-minute trip in a sweetly overheated sedan, directly to their doors. The choice is very clear.