I recently read an article about how taxis complement the public transit system in large cities yet are not well-integrated into the urban transit networks. It centers primarily around David King’s research work. King, an assistant professor of urban planning at Columbia University, conducted an experiment to map a major city’s taxi activity over a 24-hour period. His team used GPS data from New York City and sampled almost 200,000 taxi trips. The result of this experiment shows an asymmetrical pattern of taxi usage.
“A New Yorker can take the subway to work, walk to a bar, then cab it home, and many do just that every day,” to cite the article. Moreover, NYC has a 24-hour subway service, which is an exception, not the rule, among subway systems. In cites where there is no round the clock service, commuters are even more likely to hail a cab to reach home after a late night out. In such cases there is greater taxi usage pattern.
King and his colleagues claim that “ taxis are a critical aspect of a transit system as they enable car-less travelers to switch modes in the middle of a journey." But it is disappointing to see that there is very little done to integrate cabs in a city’s transit system, both from a policy perspective and from the perspective of infrastructure development. Though not mentioned in this article, sharing taxicabs, and reducing the price of for-hire-vehicles(FHV’s), is yet another way to integrate taxi service & expand the connectivity of transit networks.