Some proponents of ridesharing services like Uber claim they can decrease road congestion by requiring less people to drive around. Others have argued the opposite — that such services are actually increasing congestion — and now Beijing officials can be counted among them. In a recent statement, officials in the Chinese city pointed toward Uber and similar ridesharing services as the reason for increasingly worse traffic backups and overall driving conditions.
The accusation comes from Beijing Municipal Commission’s director Zhou Zhengyu, who said yesterday that more than 100,000 private vehicles are operating with ridesharing services in Beijing, giving more than 600,000 rides every day. Traffic in China is a growing problem, with the number of new cars being sold growing annually and the number of cars on the road being counted in the millions.
China has a serious pollution problem, and has tried to deal with both it and the traffic congestion by limiting new car licensing, the number of days cars can be driven, and more. As a result, some find it harder to get around in the city, and a reported lack of adequate public transportation has lead to an increased adoption of ridesharing services.
Whether ridesharing services actually increase congestion is a point of contention — some claim the cars trawling around streets waiting for passengers in addition to already-present taxies results in unnecessary backups, though that issue is one more relevant to large cities. Many such services have attempted to further decrease traffic congestion by launching carpooling services, allowing more than one rider to share the same car.
SOURCE: Wall Street Journal