Ride-share companies Uber and Lyft making traffic congestion worse, study finds

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Tim Fleischer has details on the impact of ride sharing services on traffic congestion.

Many had hoped ride share programs would help cut down on traffic congestion in New York City.

But a new study finds the influx of Uber and Lyft vehicles on the road are making it worse.

The ride hail companies provide a very popular transportation alternative for many users, their numbers steadily increasing in recent years.

"The numbers have just gone up and up over time in Manhattan and the boroughs," said transportation consultant Bruce Schaller.

The new study examines the transportation network companies, or TNCs, as they are known, and the impact they have on public transportation and traffic congestion in New York and other large cities.

It finds about 60 percent of TNC users in large, dense cities would have taken public transportation, walked, biked or not made the trip if TNCs had not been available for the trip.

And about 40 percent would have used a personal vehicle or taxicab had TNCs not been available for the trip.

The cars provide a whole new option. "More cars on the road mean more congestion and that's sort of the problem people see and feel today," said Schaller.

Drivers have noticed increased traffic. "3:30, 4 o'clock in the afternoon, it takes me more than an hour when it is a 25 minute ride in the morning," said driver Stephen Ariaudo.

Officials at Lyft point out other studies have drawn different conclusions. They believe their users are more likely to use public transportation.

They add, "Lyft is also focused on decreasing congestion by integrating with public transit."

Bruce Schaller believes dedicated bus lanes and congestion pricing would help allieviate congestion. Uber officials agree with some of those public policies like congestion pricing.

But when it comes to pooled rides, they say: "New Yorkers are choosing an affordable, reliable option like UberPool in outer borough communities" that are underserved by public transportation.

Bruce Schaller believes the MTA and the city also have vested interest. "Certainly the city understands that managing scarce street space is a key thing for them to be doing," he said.

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