The Geography of Ridesharing: A Case Study of New York City

52 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2017 Last revised: 18 May 2020

See all articles by Chungsang Lam

Chungsang Lam

Clemson University - John E. Walker Department of Economics

Meng Liu

Washington University in St. Louis

Xiang Hui

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School

Date Written: May 18, 2020

Abstract

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

Lam, Chungsang and Liu, Meng and Hui, Xiang, The Geography of Ridesharing: A Case Study of New York City (May 18, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2997190 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2997190

Chungsang Lam

Clemson University - John E. Walker Department of Economics ( email )

Clemson, SC 29634
United States

Meng Liu (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis ( email )

One Brookings Drive
Campus Box 1208
Saint Louis, MO MO 63130-4899
United States

Xiang Hui

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School ( email )

One Brookings Drive
Campus Box 1133
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
United States

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