Boston, Cambridge epicenter of ride-hailing
Apps provided 64.8m trips in Mass. last year
RIDE-HAILING APPS such as Uber and Lyft provided 64.8 million trips last year in Massachusetts, with the bulk of those trips starting in Boston and surrounding communities.
More than half the trips (34.9 million) originated in Boston itself and more than two-thirds originated in Boston and Cambridge (6.8 million trips), according to new state data.
After those two communities, there was a significant dropoff, with Somerville, Brookline, Newton, Medford, Quincy, Malden, Worcester, and Everett rounding out the top 10 and accounting for a combined 10.3 million trips, or 16 percent of the total.
Smaller communities had zero or a small handful of trips, but many of the state’s medium-size cities had trips that numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Lynn had more than 549,000, Lowell had more than 490,000, and Brockton had nearly 434,000. Springfield, Lawrence, and Framingham had between 321,000 and 378,000 rides.
The numbers suggest ride-hailing apps are having a major impact on how Massachusetts residents get around and most likely contributing to traffic congestion in metro Boston. A survey of 1,000 users of ride-hailing apps in late 2017 by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council indicated 42 percent would have used public transit for their trip if the apps had not been available, while 12 percent would have walked and 5 percent would not have made the trip at all.
State officials said 64.8 million trips were made with ride-hailing apps last year, compared to 408 million on public transit. The Boston Police Department’s hackney unit said taxis provided 5.9 million trips last year, down nearly 24 percent from the year before when taxis provided 7.7 million trips.
The information on usage of ride-hailing apps was gathered by the Department of Public Utilities, which collects a 20-cent fee per ride along with other metrics. The fee is split between the municipality where the ride originates (10 cents), with the remaining 10 cents split evenly between the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency to support the taxi industry and the Commonwealth Transportation Fund. Boston collected nearly $3.5 million last year from the fee, while Cambridge collected more than $678,000. The total collected for cities and towns was $6.7 million.State officials said information was collected from six ride-hailing apps: Lyft, Uber, Wuleeb, Zemcar, Fasten, and Embarque. Market share data of the companies was not provided. Most of the information on the ride-hailing apps is available and searchable on a state website, which can be found here.
State transportation officials declined comment on the new information, but a press release issued by the Baker administration included several quotes from officials saying the new data will help prepare for the future. Angela O’Connor, the chairwoman of the Department of Public Utilities, said the “launch of a website containing comprehensive ride data represents a significant step towards providing useful tools for our communities and planning authorities to understand how the Commonwealth’s transportation landscape is evolving and being shaped by the advent of Transportation Network Companies.” Transportation Network Companies is the term state officials use for the ride-hailing apps.