A Philadelphia Ride-share Story: An Investigation of Ride-share’s Impact on Transit

PISC Past Trainee, Beidi Dong, PhD, and Senior Scholar, Erick Guerra, PhD, recently released a comprehensive report on the impact of ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft on transit. The inconclusive impact of ride-hail on transit hinders transit agencies’ efforts to improve service. Dong and Guerra examine how and where ride-hail has influenced transit ridership, and who uses ride-hail and why. They used time series analyses to examine transit ridership change in the Philadelphia region post-ride-hail. Multilevel analyses was used to investigate the relationship between post-ride-hailing ridership change at bus stops and neighborhood characteristics and bus services. Finally, they investigated ride-hailing user and trip characteristics using a survey among 600 ride-hailing customers.

Mixed multinomial logistic regression (mixed logit) to estimate the relationship between respondents’ socio-demographic characteristics and travel mode-specific factors, and their mode choice between ride-hailing services and transit. They found that ridership for all of SEPTA’s four main transit modes in the study area declined after ride-hailing services’ entry, Buses suffering the biggest ridership losses. Younger and lower-income users tend to use ridehailing services more frequently than older and higher-income users. And while female customers were found to use ride-hailing services as frequently as males, they were found to have higher probabilities of choosing ride-hailing services over transit. These findings add evidence to ride-hail’s substitution effect on transit; indicate busier buses are as prone to ridership loss as less busy buses post-ride-hail; suggest that shortening transit travel time could be more effective in attracting ridehailing customers to transit than reducing transit fares alone; remind transit agencies to heed female and lower-income residents’ travel needs amid rapid growth of ride-hail.

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