Friday, March 24, 2017

San Francisco wants Lyft/Uber data to determine how much traffic congestion they cause

Two San Francisco transit agencies and one of the city's supervisors are calling on a state commission to release the data it receives from ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft, saying they need the info to control traffic issues.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin  has now drafted a resolution asking state legislators to grant California cities the right to access data from the two companies in order to see how much impact their drivers have on transit agencies and car traffic.

"That data is sent to the California Public Utilities Commission, but for years they have shielded it from public view. The CPUC granted confidentiality of trip data to Uber and Lyft after the companies argued the data could be used by one another to gain a competitive advantage," the Examiner reports.

Peskin said that requests for the data “continue to be denied by the CPUC,” Peskin told the San Francisco County Transportation Authority board on Tuesday. The agency, as well as the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, have both been pressing the CPUC to disclose its Uber and Lyft figures, but have had their request denied.

Last December, the SFMTA penned a letter to regulators that said:

45,000 Uber and Lyft vehicles driving in San Francisco traffic have added to congestion in the city and are an increasingly bad influence on traffic.

“Much of the increase San Francisco has experienced in vehicular traffic can be attributed to the huge increase in the number of [ride-hail] vehicles operating on city streets,” the letter said. “The commission’s prior and current rulemaking process clearly has had a significant environmental impact.”

The local transit authority is also concerned about how the commission regulates the two ride-hail companies, and urged regulators to take a closer look at how they both classify the companies and how they regulate Uber and Lyft drivers who use rental cars to transport passengers.

"The resolution was partially spurred by a recent study from lauded transportation analyst Bruce Schaller , which found services like Uber and Lyft caused a net increase of 600 million vehicle miles traveled in New York City — that’s a nearly 3 percent jump in car traffic," the Examiner reports.

"Additionally, Schaller found, services like Uber drew people away from public transit, and wrote those people would otherwise not have taken cabs, because they were too expensive."

Source SF Business Times.

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