Beyond the dichotomy: How ride-hailing competes with and complements public transport

Oded Cats*, Rafal Kucharski, Santosh Rao Danda, Menno Yap

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Since ride-hailing has become an important travel alternative in many cities worldwide, a fervent debate is underway on whether it competes with or complements public transport services. We use Uber trip data in six cities in the United States and Europe to identify the most attractive public transport alternative for each ride. We then address the following questions: (i) How does ride-hailing travel time and cost compare to the fastest public transport alternative? (ii) What proportion of ride-hailing trips do not have a viable public transport alternative? (iii) How does ride-hailing change overall service accessibility? (iv) What is the relation between demand share and relative competition between the two alternatives? Our findings suggest that the dichotomy-competing with or complementing-is false. Though the vast majority of ride-hailing trips have a viable public transport alternative, between 20% and 40% of them have no viable public transport alternative. The increased service accessibility attributed to the inclusion of ride-hailing is greater in our US cities than in their European counterparts. Demand split is directly related to the relative competitiveness of travel times i.e. when public transport travel times are competitive ride-hailing demand share is low and vice-versa.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0262496
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalPLoS ONE
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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