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10.02.2020

Hailing a change: comparing taxi and ridehail service quality in Los Angeles

Zeitschrift:
Transportation
Autoren:
Anne Brown, Whitney LaValle
Wichtige Hinweise

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Abstract

For decades, taxis have provided for-hire vehicle service without significant competition from other modes. But in 2012, ride-hail services such as Uber and Lyft upended the taxi business model by connecting riders to drivers through smartphone applications. Since then, few studies have considered how taxis compare to their new competition or how service quality varies across the two modes. We use data from 1680 ride-hail and taxi trips taken in a Los Angeles audit study to ask: how do service qualities—including trip price, reliability, and accountability—vary across ride-hailing (Uber and Lyft) and taxis? We find that, for the same origin and destination pair, ridehail users pay 40% lower fares and wait about one-quarter of the time compared to taxis. In addition, ride-hailing nearly guaranteed a ride, while about one in five taxi riders were never picked up. We utilize semi-structured interviews of frequent taxi and ride-hail users to examine potential explanations of the stark quantitative differences observed across modes. Findings reveal that, despite technological disruption, travelers continue to prioritize the long-standing tenets of transportation services: affordability, reliability, and accountability. Ride-hailing successfully implemented technologies to deliver on these traveler priorities, while taxis have largely failed to capitalize on new technologies. Findings suggest that taxis will need to do more than lower prices or put more cars on the road if they hope to compete with ride-hailing services, and that both new and old modes should harness technology to deliver on long-standing transportation service goals.

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