Dan Sperling and Austin Brown, PLANETIZEN
Studies of New York and other cities, including by our colleagues at UC Davis, suggest that Uber, Lyft, and other app-based car services are increasing congestion by facilitating a shift away from mass transit. That shift is to be expected. App-based car services offer users many of the same advantages as mass transit (the ability to avoid parking, the opportunity to travel without a driver’s license, etc.) at an increased level of comfort and convenience, while remaining relatively affordable. Of course Uber and Lyft will skim travelers from transit.
Though app-based car services may increase congestion in this limited regard, there is even greater—yet largely ignored—potential for such services to reduce net congestion by facilitating multi-passenger pooling. So far, pooling has not caught on widely. Since the 1970s, hundreds of billions of dollars have been invested into building a web of carpool lanes in most major U.S. cities. Yet carpooling has steadily declined from about 20% of commute trips in the 1970s to less than 10% now (see figure). Today, each car on the road in the United States contains an average of only 1.6 passengers, and the majority of the time vehicles are occupied only by the driver.
Read more at https://www.planetizen.com/features/97135-how-lyft-and-uber-can-fix-not-cause-congestion?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=dlvr-twitter&utm_campaign=newfeed
Robert Digitale, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
I love train travel. I’m no expert on the viability of SMART, but I can tell you I won’t soon forget that ride. After passing Rohnert Park, we looked out on a thin ribbon of clouds just below the thickets of oak that crown the eastern mountains. Between Petaluma and Novato, we passed among wetlands where birds great and small hovered and glided over and dipped into shallow green waters. Along the route we saw vineyards and ranchettes, farms and grazing lands — most of them unseen from the freeway to our west, and all of them beheld from a fresh vista.
Call me crazy, but for the past year I’d wanted to take the SMART train and Golden Gate ferry to San Francisco.
Readers may remember that last year I wrote about traveling there with my wife, Carol, cruising by motor scooter along the back roads of Sonoma and Marin counties and across the Golden Gate Bridge. We had loved that adventure, and we were ready to try yet another way to get to “Baghdad-by-the-Bay”, as famed newspaper columnist Herb Caen used to call his town.
The wildfires that struck Oct. 9 didn’t change our plans, especially when our home remained safe and the threats of evacuation had passed. If anything, by the third weekend of October I was all the more ready for a break after two weeks of breathing smoke and covering stories in the ashes of Santa Rosa’s Coffey Park neighborhood.
For anyone contemplating a “weekender” jaunt away from Sonoma County — for a Giants game, a concert, a bright-lights-big-city event — what we found venturing forth suggests both potential and some limitations of today’s North Bay public transit system.
We set out on a Friday morning for my maiden passage on SMART. The first challenge we faced was getting to the station. For that, I pulled out my smart phone and opened the Lyft ridesharing app. I’m not tech savvy, but I easily managed to request a ride. Within seven minutes we were seated in the back of a Kia sedan and on our way to the downtown Santa Rosa station. Cost: $11.96.
After stopping for a tasty hot chocolate at nearby Aroma Roasters, we walked past the historic stone train depot and climbed the platform. There we discovered that SMART was offering free rides that day due to the fires (normally the cost is $9.50 to San Rafael using a Clipper Card, which is accepted by all forms of public transportation in this story). A few minutes later the 8:31 a.m. train rolled up, and a highlight of our journey began.
Read more at: Ferries, trains and automobiles: a somewhat SMART way for Sonoma County to do a weekend in San Francisco
Matt Brown, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
The San Francisco-based ridesharing service Uber expanded into Sonoma County Monday, extending to local passengers the mobile application that allows them to connect with drivers of vehicles for hire.
Launched in San Francisco in 2010, Uber is now in more than 100 cities around the world, said Danny Nicolopoulos, Uber community manager. It launched in Napa Valley last month and in Marin County in January.
With Monday’s expansion along the Highway 101 corridor and east to Sonoma, the service is now available throughout Northern California from Carmel to Santa Rosa, he said.
“I think Sonoma County is going to be a huge market for us,” he said. “It seemed like a good fit for what we were doing.”
via Ridesharing service Uber launches in Sonoma County (w/video) | The Press Democrat.