What would Arity say? Our take on current news
New York recently signed a new law that limits the number of rideshare licenses in the city and raises the minimum wage for drivers, and several other cities, including Chicago, are considering similar measures. What’s your take on the impact here, both for the consumer as well as the communities?
Our entire transportation system is broken; this is a fact and it has become somewhat of a mantra for us here at Arity. We spend more than EIGHT billion hours a year in traffic. So, I think that any way we can positively disrupt this system is a wonderful thing.
Specific to the concerns on caps on ridesharing: the demand that people have for it is making it more efficient and convenient, the community of drivers is serving consumers’ need. It’s a good thing. There have been a variety of studies that rideshare could increase congestion or decrease congestion and that it’s part of the problem. I can understand how someone could look at that and cap the drivers. I think that it’s an interesting way to start the conversation, but not the right way to solve the problem.
In your opinion, what’s the right approach to move towards a beneficial solution?
The first thing we need to do is to pump the brakes a bit, take a step back and think about the problem that we are trying to solve here. Fundamentally we need to understand how people are moving and how those needs impact transportation providers, i.e. in this part of the city right now, we need X drivers or Y trains. And that’s the right balance of supply and demand. This “cap” is the idea of learning about the different, more micro areas — it’s where this is going to evolve to in the future.
The demand of the market and the government need to work closer together and understand why the cities are taking these kinds of steps, but it feels like the early innings before a high-level solution will evolve. I think we all appreciate what is happening but now we have to optimize it and then create more of a comprehensive solution.
Beyond public and private collaboration, which is central to the solution, what is the key element that will move this forward and can it be applied nationally or is each municipality its own challenge?
Whether we’re talking about BBQ, football or pizza, no two cities are the same. Each city needs to think about its unique geographic and congestion constraints in order to properly address their local problems. Data can help identify where sharing economy companies need to put their drivers and Arity can help! In reference to my previous answer regarding collaboration, Arity is working closely with the City of Chicago to leverage data to identify what intersections are unsafe and what needs to be done to fix them. Similarly, we use data to identify gaps in the cities infrastructure to create more efficiency for sharing economy companies and consumers trying to get from point A to point B.
There is a lot of information on transportation usage out there, but it’s trapped in a variety of public, private and enterprise environments. At Arity we are working with everyone in the ecosystem to free that data, so we can analyze it and get a better picture of where the rides are and where people want to go. This will create all kinds of new innovative solutions, that will be fully integrated with each element of our transportation infrastructure, which will be a big step towards addressing this broken system of ours.
Oh and by the way, check out what is happening in Chicago as it relates to the rideshare cap via The Chicago Tribune.