Uber Responsible For 70% More Pollution; But Indians Now Prefer Uber, Ola Over Personal Cars

Trak.in, February 27, 2020

The most preferred private mode of transport in Delhi-NCR region are the ride hailing companies like Uber and Ola. According to a survey of 1,377 commuters in Delhi NCR by think tank CUTS International, 35% of the people use these private cab booking apps frequently.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, ride-hailing trips of Uber result in an estimated 69% more climate pollution on average than the trips they displace.

Uber and Ola: The Preferred Private Mode of Transport?

As per Statista, The ride-hailing market size in India is estimated to be around $36.9 billion in 2020 and is likely to increase to $54 billion by 2023 growing at a CAGR of 13.5 per cent. Currently, the Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) is $178.22 in India with the overall number of users this year to be 20.7 crores.

The survey confirmed that 23% commuters prefer riding traditional auto-rickshaws while 21%t still had personal vehicles including four and two-wheelers as the preferred route to commute.

The survey revealed, “Non-app based taxis which are usually hailed through calling the local taxi stand or contacting the driver directly over the phone or hailed from a taxi stand/ hub also seem to be a preferred choice, but only to a limited extent.”

In terms of public modes of transport, metro dominated the charts with 88% commuter preference followed by 8% commuters choosing public buses.

Less travel time, reliability and availability were the three top reasons stated by respondents for choosing app based cabs like Uber and Ola. Meanwhile less cost, availability, and less travel time were the reasons for respondents who had personal vehicles and non-app auto-rickshaws as their prefered commuting modes.

The survey titled An Evidence-Based Analysis of Relevant Market — The Case of Ridesharing in Delhi NCR said, “The importance of non-price factors, especially travel time, reliability and availability, is also indicative of the importance of cross-group network effects generated by such platforms.”

The “supply-induced reasons” for preference of commuters for Uber and Ola are reliability and availability in particular of app-based services and thus are likely to be directly linked to the critical mass of drivers available with app-based services at all relevant times.

Uber to Encourage Pooled Rides Amidst Rise in Climate Pollution?

The ride-hailing company has been encountered with severe criticism involving pollution and traffic congestion for many years now. However it’s been difficult to get an exact gauge about how much ride-hailing contributes to daily emissions.

In cities, ride-hailing companies typically replace low-carbon trips, such as public transportation, biking, or walking. The group of scientists recommend that Uber could reduce these emissions with a more concrete effort to electrify vehicles or by incentivizing customers to take pooled rides.

The report reads, “However, those strategies alone will address neither the increases in vehicle miles traveled nor rising congestion concerns. For ride-hailing to contribute to better climate and congestion outcomes, trips must be pooled and electric, displace single-occupancy car trips more often, and encourage low-emissions modes such as mass transit, biking, and walking.”

Uber has shown an inclination to reduce their carbon footprint by implementing methods like introduction of bike- and scooter-sharing services, integrated public transportation scheduling and ticketing into their respective apps, and incentive programs to get drivers to switch to electric cars in the United States.

However, the vast majority of trips that take place on the platform are in gas-burning vehicles. The company has tried promoting pooled rides, but customers have shown an unwillingness to share their trips. These efforts to better connect to mass transit have been slow paced.

An Uber spokesperson said, “We want Uber to be a part of the solution to address climate change by working with cities to help create a low carbon transportation future. To unlock the opportunities we have to reduce emissions, we will continue to invest in products and advocate for policies that reduce car ownership, promote more pooled trips and support greater adoption of bikes, scooters, green vehicles and the use of public transit.”

A more strategic and systematic effort to address pollution has not emerged from the company. The solutions proposed so far are unlikely to address the core problem with ride-hailing: it is often more convenient and less expensive than other, less-polluting transportation options.

This news item can also be viewed at: