Since the beginning of the ride hailing era, we’ve seen the likes of Uber and Lyft take over our cities, disrupting transportation as we know it and bringing forward a new model of mobility. Its popularity has led to unprecedented growth and utilisation particularly in urban areas, thus helping connect millions of people from A-B – especially those who do not own a car and would otherwise be reliant on public transportation.
However, over the last ten years or so, what appeared to be a solution to the world is now becoming a bit of a problem. We read about the several issues that have occurred in relation to passenger safety such as assaults, drivers logging fake identities onto apps, dangerous driving, uninsured drivers, reliability and so on but perhaps the biggest issue that doesn’t always grab the headlines is the negative impact ridehailing in its current form is having on the climate.
Given the increased volume of vehicles competing for fares across our cities, traffic is only getting worse, pollution is rising, and one would argue that we’re actually no better off than we were before Uber and co even existed.
I'd say that’s a little unfair. However, before cities crack down on ridehailing companies with electric vehicle mandates to reduce emissions, perhaps there is a real opportunity for them to take the initiative to adopt an all-electric fleet at least for the vehicles that they rent to drivers, and become the sustainable leaders they set out to be.
There’s certainly an awful lot to do to reduce traffic and clean up the air in cities but if ridehailing companies step up their efforts to electrify, at least we can enjoy a much more pleasant, cleaner and quieter ride.
Research suggests that the average ride-hailing trip creates about 50% more pollution than the average traditional car trip. Even worse, studies show that over half of all ride-hailing trips in major cities are made by people who would have otherwise used cleaner means of transit to get to their destination.