The Geography of Ridesharing: A Case Study of New York City
52 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2017 Last revised: 18 May 2020
Date Written: May 18, 2020
Despite the popularity of ridesharing, there is limited empirical evidence on how ridesharing activities differ across regions with different levels of accessibility and the implication for consumers. In this paper, we study the market for rides across New York City neighborhoods. We construct a novel data set that contains massive API queries on route-specific estimates of pricing, wait time, and travel time of Uber, Lyft, and the public transit. After linking this data with actual trip records of taxis, Uber, and Lyft, we document a strong pattern that ridesharing has a larger market share relative to taxis in neighborhoods with lower accessibility, defined either in terms of geographic distance to Midtown Manhattan or "economic distance" to job opportunities. Next, we estimate a discrete-choice model of demand for rides and interpret the geography of ridesharing through the lens of the model. We find that consumer surplus from ridesharing varies drastically across geography: passengers that are 5 to 15 miles (resp. more than 15 miles) from Midtown experience a 60% (resp. 19%) larger consumer surplus relative to passengers that are within 5 miles from Midtown. Additionally, over half of these gains comes from reduced wait time. We discuss the implications of the distributional results for policy makers.
Keywords: Ridesharing, Geography, Transportation, Inclusive Mobility, Consumer Surplus
JEL Classification: L10, L91, D40, D60, O33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation