Mobility Companies Discover Equity — Time to Raise the Bar

Mobility Companies Discover Equity — Time to Raise the Bar

  If you would have told me a few years ago that Uber, Lyft, bikeshare, and scootershare companies would be competing to win the most brownie points on mobility equity, … I would not have believed you. Yet, in recent years we have witnessed a notable shift from when these mobility companies first eagerly rolled out their services onto the streets, without giving a second thought to how their services would benefit or harm low-income folks, people of color, and people with disabilities. ICYMI, here’s a short summary of a year’s worth of headlines:  10 Bike Share Programs with Low Income Discounts.  Lyft Donates $700,000 to Oakland.  Ford GoBike Launches…
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Hey Uber and Lyft, Clean Up Your Own Mess

Hey Uber and Lyft, Clean Up Your Own Mess

In case you missed it, the San Francisco Chronicle wrote an article in March on how some environmental advocates want to implement a per-ride tax on Uber and Lyft and are seeking to coax Uber and Lyft drivers to buy electric vehicles. This is our response: Taxing Uber and Lyft Per-Ride All of us already pay the price for the multitude of harms that Uber and Lyft contribute to, including increasing congestion, driving, traffic fatalities, and replacing walking, biking, and transit trips. San Francisco is thus considering taxing Uber and Lyft rides, which no doubt would produce valuable revenue for transit projects. Some advocates propose waiving the tax for rides that…
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Our Car-Addicted Transportation System Blocks Climate Progress

Our Car-Addicted Transportation System Blocks Climate Progress

The Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco last September sparked a flurry of states, cities, and companies to announce commitments for climate action. California Governor Jerry Brown, signed SB 100, legislation that puts California on a path to 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045. While SB 100 is a huge victory, it’s not enough to get us to a just, fair, and sustainable future. Our car-dependent transportation system not only impedes climate progress, it makes many of our other problems worse. Transportation is responsible for nearly 50 percent of California’s total greenhouse gas emissions and they are on the rise. A report by the California Air Resources Board found…
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Mobility Equity: Turning Theory into Reality

Mobility Equity: Turning Theory into Reality

Social equity has become a hot-button topic. Equity refers to achieving justice for marginalized communities who have been left behind by ensuring that they have the resources they need to catch up. But how do you actually achieve equitable outcomes in such a challenging and complex field like transportation and mobility? And what does mobility equity look like in a time when people have more transportation options than ever before? Uber, bike-share, scooter-share, and other mobility options represent exciting new ways to move around our cities. Yet these new options also represent ways that transportation inequities can be exacerbated. So if new mobility options are going to play a role…
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Public Transit: Uber’s Next Casualty?

Public Transit: Uber’s Next Casualty?

A 15 minute Uber ride or a 30 minute transit ride? For many affluent city-dwellers who increasingly prefer comfort and convenience, making this choice is a no-brainer. However, this choice is a privilege that remains out of reach for many transit-dependent low-income communities — who face many barriers to accessing ride-hailing services. Uber competing with taxis is old news, but many now worry that ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft compete with public transit for riders. Not only can ride-hailing service be incredibly convenient, nowadays they can be dirt cheap — increasing the appeal of simply opening the mobile app. This trend may come as no surprise to cities with…
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Transportation, Mobility, and Racial Justice

Transportation, Mobility, and Racial Justice

I wonder if my Chinese immigrant family could have ever dreamed that their labor picking pineapples under the hot Hawaiian sun would ultimately result in sending off three generations to university. Now if that’s not a textbook example of the American Dream, then I don’t know what is. In comparison to my ancestors’ immigrant experience in a racist America, I have enjoyed an incredibly privileged upbringing. I have never known the struggles of poverty, cultural assimilation, or the redlining discrimination that they faced. My high quality of life would not have been possible without the determination and hard work of my immigrant ancestors, whose labor provided my entire family with…
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