group rides

NYC Taxi Stand FAIL is Proof We Need Better Ways to Share Cabs

In its post mortem on a few of New York City’s cab stands, which were closed this week, the NY Post wrote, "New Yorkers are willing to share apartments and subway seats — but apparently not cabs.“

But that’s simply not true.

First of all, as the article notes, two ride stands are "still going strong”:

One at the Port Authority bus terminal handles about 20 share rides a day, and the share livery stand at the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island handles 275 rides per day. Both of those will remain.

And there’s a lot more sharing to come. We know there are situations in which New Yorkers are willing to share cabs. But did the TLC really design its group ride program to fully take advantage of these situations? Is a sign, like that little one above, enough?

Ask any New Yorker: Would you share a cab in a rain storm? Or on a frigid day when there isn’t a cab in sight? What if it meant cutting the cost of a cab ride in half – and cutting down on wasteful carbon emissions?

Sharing would be a very straightforward way to increase the capacity of the Yellow Taxi fleet at times when it is overburdened, which means more taxis for everybody.

What about getting back to or from Newark, JFK, or the Meadowlands? Ask any New Yorker: would you share a cab back from a Giants game, if it meant saving $40. What if you could ride home to your apartment with a Facebook friend you hadn’t talked to in months?

The problem with the TLC’s group ride stand has nothing to do with the demand for these kinds of transit products. They (we all really) need to work harder at designing sharing solutions where people really need them, and then giving New Yorkers the tools to actually arrange these shares.

For example: if the problem at the group ride stands really is a chicken and egg issue, why not provide passengers with some digital tools enabling them to find out whether or not they can generate shared rides, before trekking over to a shared location?