Car ownership may drop due to Uber, Lyft service

2017-08-10 21:45:30 GMT2017-08-11 05:45:30(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

CHICAGO, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- Car ownership may drop in areaswhere Uber, Lyft and other on-demand ride services operate,researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation ResearchInstitute (UMTRI), Texas A&M Transportation Institute andColumbia University find after a study.

They surveyed more than 1,200 people in Austin, Texas, toexamine how their habits changed after Uber and Lyft pulled driversout of the city due to a local law change.

In May 2016, Austin voters blocked a ballot measure that wouldhave allowed the companies to keep using their own background-checksystems.

The researchers looked for changes in the choice oftransportation mode, trip frequency and vehicle ownership, focusingtheir questions on the last trip respondents that had taken withUber or Lyft before the service stopped in Austin, and how they hadbeen taking that type of trip now that they could no longer rely onthose companies. Researchers also asked the extent to whichparticipants were inconvenienced by the service suspension.

The study found that 41 percent of those surveyed turned totheir own vehicle to fill the void left by Uber and Lyft. Ninepercent actually bought an additional car for this purpose.

Rounding out the respondents, 3 percent switched to publictransit and 42 percent switched to another, smaller transportationnetworking company.

Statistical analysis revealed that the people who transitionedto a personal vehicle were 23 times more likely to report makingmore trips than those who switched to a different ride-sourcingcompany. Overall trips decreased after Uber and Lyft service wassuspended. The average monthly frequency of the reference tripsdecreased from 5.65 to 2.01, a 68 percent drop.

The researchers found a correlation between the level ofinconvenience reported and the likelihood that a survey participantwould buy a car. Inconvenienced residents were more than five timesmore likely to buy a car.

Out of expectation, wealthier respondents were less likely topurchase a vehicle than those whose household income is below100,000 dollars a year. The researchers hold that this is becausethose in a higher income bracket likely already had a vehicle attheir disposal.

"Our findings show that these ride-sourcing companies do changebehaviors," said Robert Hampshire, a professor at UMTRI and leadauthor of the new study..

"A 30-percent increase in the probability of switching topersonal vehicles relative to any of the existing transportationnetworking companies for an individual who is inconvenienced by theservice suspension provides strong support for policies that helpreduce the likelihood of occurrence of such a suspension. The casefor this need is made stronger when one considers that thistransition may be associated with a 23-percent increase in tripmaking."

The study is the first of its kind that quantifies how theuptick in transportation networking companies might be affectingconsumer behavior, and provides crucial insights that are relevantto policymakers.

Uber and Lyft relaunched their services in Austin on May 29,2017, in response to Texas House Bill 100 which overrides localordinances and creates a statewide regulatory framework fortransportation network companies. Enditem