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Uber and Lyft helping to choke Boston traffic even more, report says

WBUR sums up a new report by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council.

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.... anyone?

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Anyone who thought that ride-sharing would reduce people's owning cars, and that would somehow reduce traffic. I seem to remember somebody making that claim, but I don't know where I saw it.

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I think it may reduce car ownership, but the drivers are out to make money and they will circle waiting for a job.

I still drive and park on the street in Beacon Hill everyday and have found it easier to find a parking spot. Could change with the next round of graduate students, but right now there seem to be fewer cars in on street parking.

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Many people make that claim quite regularly, both in internet comments and in transportation planning.

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But Uber and Lyft aren't ride sharing services in reality. They provide an on-demand driver and this puts people in personal vehicles on the road who likely would not be driving otherwise.

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If we had a functional transit system that was available when people needed it - like, 3am on a Saturday, like, from the airport to downtown 24 hours.

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I have a small mid-rise of unsolicited reports from the MAPC. You skim through it, you say "no kidding", and then chuck it. The MAPC has become a complete waste. Ask MAPC staff what the MAPC is, and you'll get the longest non-answer in the history of Boston.

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What else are urban plannuhs gonna do with that fuckin degree?
(I mean aside from barista?)

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Showcasing his or her or their ignorance of reality

You might look into what the MAPC does. Either that, or give up your right to insurance for things that they are working with their member communities to fix - like overflowing storm sewers and heat islands and such. If you find this hard to understand, maybe we can rewrite it in crayon for you?

Oh, but that would mean your attitude might change. Can't have that. Easier to be ignorant and pretend to be worldly.

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Wondering why this study had to be funded when all they to do is sit there in a car and wait the 25 minutes it now takes to get up either Newbury Street or down Boylston from Mass to Arlington on a Saturday night.

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Or stand on any corner for 30 minutes and watch numerous cars with uber & lyft stickers in the window block travel lanes to discharge passengers or slowly roll down the street attempting to find their passengers. I don't get why we have allowed things like uber & air b&b to flourish. Their entire competitive advantage is based on dodging the sensible regulations we have put in place to control their respective industries.

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Because we were sick of language barriers, refusals to go to East Boston, and handheld cellphone use sold to us by a cadre of six entities protected by government who grin and bore their strange bedfellows.

Sensible regulations? What part of only letting a handful of people make livable money from car service was sensible? Is "sensible regulations" a synonym for "concern trolling?" I'm a grown man, and I'm capable of picking whom I want to buy car rides and lodging from. I did not solicit the help of anyone else.

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The regulations here are regarding traffic laws which are broken by these new "professional" drivers. These are people who care even less about traffic laws when they consider a fare (and speedy service) paramount to everything else.

I'm all in favor of car services provided the police crack down on drivers who flout traffic laws. Uber & Lyft should also get tickets when their driver blocks a travel lane, makes unsafe illegal turns, etc. The same goes for traditional cabs, what few are left.

Edit: Typo fixed.

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Not flaunt.

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Uber & Lyft should also get tickets when their driver blocks a travel lane, makes unsafe illegal turns, etc.

I don't see any argument for ticketing Uber or Lyft. It is the driver who should be ticketed.

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No, some blame should definitely go back to them. They incentivize doing things like this by allowing riders to select impractical pickup points. If a rider picks a point that I can't legally stop at, and I have to call them and try to coax them to move elsewhere, they're certainly not going to tip, and are likely going to leave me a poor rating, which Uber's algorithm factors in when giving me rides. Drivers also don't get paid for time between accepting a request and picking up the person, which pushes drivers to get to the pickup as fast as possible.

Yes drivers are the ones technically breaking the laws, but Uber & Lyft definitely bear responsibility as well, because they encourage drivers to do it.

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Illegal drops and pickups NEVER happened on my watch. Need to get into that building on Tremont? Tough luck, we're turning onto Beacon or onto Park, because that's a travel lane.

Your call, passenger. $1.24 a mile before expenses and taxes is not a rate at which you get laws broken on your behalf. And I would never in a million years blame Uber for that kind of driver behavior. Uber drivers didn't become car drivers the day they were onboarded by Uber.

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That's not relevant. You're just one driver. Poster was not saying that it is impossible to follow all laws during pick-ups, just that it is insentivized by Uber. And if it's insentivized it's going to happen some > 0% of the time among the thousands of drivers. This is the outcome of the current policy. If we want it to look different the policy would have to change.

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You completely ignored my point - forcing a driver to walk somewhere else to get in your car when Uber promised them door-to-door service and let them choose an unsafe or illegal pickup point is going to result in a poor rating and definitely no tip. There are many popular destinations or origination points with no good legal place to stop. But riders still expect to be dropped off right in front of them, because Uber allows them to select that location.

Poor ratings and no tips will reduce your income. You essentially have to be willing to break the law concerning things like no stopping zones if you want to have any chance of making money driving for Uber. Ergo, they share the blame. Until Uber makes it such that passengers cannot set a pickup or dropoff location where it is not legal to do so, they are expecting drivers to break the law.

And pulling out the "I drove rideshare" argument doesn't mean jack when you're talking to someone else who currently drives for Uber.

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Why? Have you found a mathematical equation that makes it work for you?

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It works for me because I only do it part time, and not even consistently. My approach to it is that if I have a night that I have nothing better to do, I'll go out and drive for a few hours. Or if I need to drive in to the office for some reason, I'll pick up a rider along the way to offset the parking costs. I enjoy driving, and have met some really interesting people that I've had some great conversations with.

Financially, for me it's worked out to still be decently profitable after subtracting Uber's cut and my expenses (e.g. mileage), but I'm fairly certain it would not be if I actually paid myself an hourly wage deducted from those earnings.

I just treat it as an excuse to go drive around and meet people when I'd otherwise be sitting at home alone. I don't think I'd want to try and live off it as a full time job.

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Yeah. I hate the ride sharing system, but the enemy of my enemy is still a fucking mess. The medallion system was an utterly corrupt system that was not good for workers/drivers nor for customers. The state should just step in and set up a sensible system. Letting the market do it "naturally" will eventually end up with us being carted around in rickshaws pulled by slave labor.

And if you want see gaggles of Lyft signs and 'U's in windows just watch the scrum of cars going into the Ted Williams Tunnel every morning. Worst of all, the bar is low for entry into the system so you end up with effectively hundreds of clueless, directionally-challenged cab drivers on our streets in mostly unmarked cars. I'd like to see some of the accident statistics on ride sharing trips vs. cab drivers. Both are bad drivers but at least I can easily identify the later and avoid them.

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Cab drivers would be more responsive if they had flexible and surge pricing and the cab owners didn't have to pay for medallions and insurance.

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The state should just step in and set up a sensible system. Letting the market do it "naturally" will eventually end up with us being carted around in rickshaws pulled by slave labor.

"The market" and "slave labor" in the same sentence?

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Young Will shows why the future is so bleak. Whan you say "language barriers" does that mean you don't understand broken English or are you just once again proving your cornpone upbringing in the whirlpool of diversity that is Vermont?

And refusal to got to East Boston from where, because last I noticed not too many cabbies refuse to go to Logan which is in.....East Boston?

And I will need a fattie to endure your explanations to what cellphone use and a "cadre of six" have to do with the strangling of Boston traffic by the influx of thousands of TNC drivers?

Thankfully millennials are reproducing less. You might want to jump on that fad.

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Go back through the comments on any taxi thread.

Note that cabbies DON'T GO TO EAST BOSTON NEIGHBORHOODS.

Not even from the airport.

Suburban moron.

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Anons proving that they are not only deserving of that title, their opinions prove they should stay that way.

What does where I live have any bearing on the fact that I started as a cabbie in this town in 1979 and worked for thirty years in the limo business here, but what the fuck do I know about Boston and it's transportation woes, amirite?

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Flag a cab on a Saturday night and ask to go to Mattapan or East Boston.

See how quickly that cabby speeds off.

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It's a well-known fact that cabs refuse to take people home to East Boston, because the tolls are offensively high for taxis, but they're not allowed to pass it on to the passenger. There have been dozens of news articles and discussion posts about this. http://boston.cbslocal.com/2012/01/05/east-boston-man-gets-wile-ride-aft...

If you're actually a former cabbie and you insist there's no problem getting a cab to East Boston, you're being intentionally obtuse.

I'm not sure what the situation is now that the toll is charged in both directions, and now that taxis face so much competition from ride-hailing apps. The Boston Police don't bother to publicize the full details of taxi fares. http://bpdnews.com/taxi-rates/ is not just out of date about two-way tolling. It was also wrong in the past, since it doesn't mention the Massport fee for taking a cab from the airport.

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Wow. You're a real treat of a human being. Cabs hate going to Eastie. They still hate going to Eastie. I can't remember how many times I've had a cab driver complain about going to Eastie or pull away without letting me into the cab because I said I was going to Eastie. They don't care about going to the airport at 2 in the morning because there aren't any flights coming in at two in the morning. Had you bothered to think about this at all you might have come to the same conclusion before telling someone that they shouldn't reproduce just because they share an opinion you don't agree with.

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And while you’re easily offended by the fact that there are plenty of places that cabbies don’t go at any time during the day or night that even Uber drivers won’t service then I’ll take your opinions with the merit they deserve.

And as far as young Will, imagine facing a possible dystopian nightmare future that will have to be dealt with by people like Will here and you can see why the New York Times recently did a feature on the fact that 2016 saw a record low birth rate.

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The exhaustive list of places that I have lived:

-Burlington, VT

-Cambridge, MA

-Boston, MA

All three are incorporated cities. I listen to public radio, I read The Economist and the New York Times, and I started watching English football last year (COYS). Despite my Vermont nativity, I am decidedly urban. There isn't a thing about me that is country.

Any assertion you make to the contrary going forward is lazy, ad hominem trolling. And there was no point in you wishing for me not to breed, you might as well have encouraged me to not stick my hand into a wood chipper.

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There isn't a thing about me that is country.

Certainly not your smooth sophistication and savoir faire.

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You are urban! I remember blowing lines with you off the table at Lane's Lounge back in the day! And remember that time me, you and Granny got drunk and blew off a .357 at the parking lights behind the Rat? How about when that cop slapped you and me upside the head with a Billy bat after the 86 Celtics win for jumping up on a paddy wagon? And remember how scared you were the first time you had to make the merge from the Tobin over to Storrow on that little death trap on the old SE Expressway? Remember all the good times we had running errands for the vendors the old man knew on Saturdays at Haymarket for nickles, dimes and fruit? How about those delicious blocks of welly cheese and butter we'd get from welfare? Awesome!!

Good times!

Forgive me, brave urban warrior, for ever doubting you!

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There's other urban settings besides 1980s Boston. Experience them if you can.

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You should have been with me in Los Angeles during the riots of 92 when I was living in West Hollywood!

I'm sure your calm and reasonable demeanor and ability to bridge the many racial divides based on your experiences with multi cultures in the teeming metropolis of ......Burlington......Vermont....could have ended that imbroglio!

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That's why.

There needed to be some way for the legislatures and city halls to get out of not producing a working transportation system.

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Convincing me that government-created artificial scarcity, which drove the price of a taxi medallion to $1 million, debt service on which needs to be paid by the taxi-riding public, is "sensible regulation" -- now that's going to be a heavy lift, but go ahead and take a run at it.

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For example. Bridj wasn't innovative at all. It was simply a new jitney bus that could dodge regulations until an x amount of months. Same with Uber in various countries and states.

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Bridj had local jitney licenses.

I never understood it. They say it was dynamic, but that just meant they wouldn't tell you the infrequent schedule and mystery pickup location until after you'd booked your reserved trip. And you had no flexibility if your plans changed.

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Anecdotes are not data.

What kind of fool sits in traffic for 25 minutes to go a short distance? That crap will kill you. Get out and walk and leave the roads to people who have disabilities.

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When we have to argue with morons like you that rely on anecdotal talking points to push back against new transportation planning.

Data and studies that provide analysis of said data help us to shape our mobility options when again, morons like you, come out of the wood work to fight against proposals that aren't car-centric.

Its not that hard to understand, unless you're being willfully obtuse.

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Yet cabs don’t? Meaningless study.

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there is a medallion system, dummy. And why a Brookline cab cannot pick up rides in Boston. These are rules in place to regulate how many extra cars run on the roads. Uber and Lyft blow that to pieces. A guy living in Nashua NH can decide he wants to make some extra cash today and drive for Uber, in Boston, during both rush hours with no fear of any consequence.

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I think it has to do with the addition of Uber and Lyft to the existing situation.

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Cab supply are throttle cost of a medallion, plus in non-demand times they are more expensive.

Stand on a corner and you will see a lot more Uber/Lyft then cabs.

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are much cheaper than the equivalent cab ride would be, because they're subsidizing fares to try to drive cab companies out of business (or at least permanently drive market share away from them). Cheaper fares = less reason to take public transit = more cars on the road at any given time = more congestion.

Or, next time you could maybe just read the article before dismissing it as meaningless.

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At the peak, a medallion cost more than $1 million. A taxi driver doesn't have access to credit at prime rate, so let's assume 6%. That's $60,000 per year in debt service. $164 per day per cab.

Cabbies will need to tell us how many fares a typical driver does during a shift, but let's say it's 25. 2 shifts on the road per day per cab, that's 50 trips.

$164 in debt service and 50 trips per cab per day means that, thanks to the medallion system, $3 of every fare you pay goes not to the driver, not to the taxi company, but to the bank who lent the money to buy the medallion.

This is insane.

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No joke.

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Both ride hailing services lose a ton of money subsidizing the fares paid by riders. If they had to at least break even I suspect the costs to ride would go way up and there would be less demand for them. Has the city/state experienced less DUI arrests since the increased availability of ride hailing? Given the choice I would prefer sitting in a little more traffic with sober ride hailing drivers.

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This is anecdotal, I know, but I drive for Uber part time and have had many inebriated passengers, several of whom told me they were ubering because they lost their license after a DUI. Multiple of these were out in the suburbs too, where you can't just hail a cab on the street, you have to call and schedule one.

So I'd definitely wager that ridesharing has cut down on drunk driving.

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It could be that it's increased liquor consumption overall. People who were previously stuck at home without a license can now go out and people who were OK with drinking and driving continue to do so.

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You don't have any excuse to drive if you can get a rideshare to your home and back to your car the next day when you are sober.

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In fact, the the state cannot find enough crashes involving alcohol in the youngest age group of drivers to even report.

It used to be that younger drivers - in their 20s - had the most DUIs. Not anymore. That honor belongs to the baby boomers (55+) who still think of their cars as an attached appendage and freeeeeedum.

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I agree.

80 percent of my Uber clientele are using it to avoid a DUI. A huge chunk of the other 20 percent have lost their license or cars to drugs/alcohol.

But on the main topic, yes Uber/Lyft saturation on our streets is beyond out of control. Any Uber/Lyft driver who says otherwise will still be the first one to complain there are too many drivers interfering with their payday. I can still work smart, but the noose is tightening exponentially.

And a lot of Uber drivers circle. Most cabs do not. They have stands for that sort of thing.

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Well, then Uber/Lyft should pay for some of the cab stands to gain access so they don't have to circle, right?

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If there is one thing that nature abhors more than a socialist country, it is a vacuum.

Paying for an Uber stand would only take care of a few circling Uber cars, which would quickly be replaced by more circlers jockeying for prime situation locations that change constantly. There are thousands of of Uber drivers in Boston on duty at any given time. Multiple thousands. If one end of a city block would have a pile of Uber drivers at a stand, then the lone circler at the other end of the block may have a huge advantage for a pickup ping. There is a mostly undisclosed algorithm to how an Uber driver gets to be chosen for their pickup ping from Uber central, but location is a huge factor. Those of us who believe in and use the client app to locate competing Uberfolk, will find a barren spot on the map if possible.

Cabs are finite. Uber is essentially infinite, and the mechanics that govern the fact that Uber could not truly be infinite are probably more sane to discuss than to discuss why the hell a lot of drivers would work so hard for so little, clogging streets in the process.

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Uber is not essentially infinite, there's only eight billion people, and a lady can get pregnant about once a year.

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So 100% of your clientele is either using you for a ride to avoid driving drunk or because they lost their license due to driving drunk? Not ONE person is just using you for a ride to work? Or to a game?

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I work weekend nights from 9pm to 3am and usually sit in front of bars. Always have. When I first started Uber I would get lured by Uber into horrible unprofitable runs but I learned to shut pool off. Greatest decision ever.

I said the bulk of the rest of the 20 percent... not all. I occasionally have a regular fare but when I get chatting, almost all of them are using Uber because they lost their license.

Round trips to packies is a huge one also. And I do stake out and research where state mandatory DUI rehab classes are held.

I have been working on trying to get a hold of the profitable cataract runs, but those old people just don't like smartphones.

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Do you have plastic all over everything in the backseat? Or one of those Honda Elements that you can hose out?

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Thousands of rides, no pukers yet. Two close calls. Both 21ish. Communication and teamwork saved the day. Today's modern drinking establishments do not serve to excess. The only time I ever threw up in a car was when Who's on First (defunct Fenway club) dug up some cases of 16oz Knickerbocker and sold them for $1.

I get a lot of people who pass out though. Once I picked up the wrong girl because she couldn't speak more than a few words without zoning out.

A driver gets $250 from Uber for a puke. I raised three kids. That would be some easy money in my book.

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That's gold. Maybe keep that to yourself, dude.

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I really doubt those who did the study don’t drive or take ride share into the city. I would be shocked to see anyone involved in this study crammed on the T.

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What is your point?

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In relation to a story about the abundance car services the poster makes reference to how bad the T is. If only someone could connect those dots for us!

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So why was it necessary to talk about the authors of the study, as though their not riding the T has some bearing on the validity of it? What's the point of that?

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"Ride sharing" is a lie. Uber and Lyft are cheap unregulated taxis. albeit with some great apps to manage the trip. They are not "ride sharing" and never were.

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data to prove out what was painfully obvious to anyone who drives through the city. Not a big fan of the medallion owners but I honestly can't believe the Taxis lost their court battle with these companies....

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Bicycles. There's been an enormous increase in bicycles on the road and all kinds of accomodations for them.

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Anorexic, even.

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You want all of us to get into cars, too?

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Can I blame that elephant for all the potholes?

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Surely you have noticed that bikes are way smaller than cars? So a person moving their mode of commuting from a car to a bike saves a ton of space? Also, you realize bikes existed before cars?

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... that people on bikes don’t stink up my home with exhaust. I don’t even hear or feel them go by.

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Bicycles Single occupancy vehicles. There's been an enormous increase in bicycles single occupancy vehicles on the road and all kinds of accomodations [sic] for them.

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Historically, your commuting choices were to drive yourself and sit in traffic, sit in a stinky cab and sit in traffic (which may not pick you up at 2AM if you're the wrong color or not going far enough for a lucrative fare and had not seen any innovation in half a century) or to take mass transit, which is both increasingly crowded (try getting on the 93 bus at Chelsea and Warren around 7:30AM) and increasingly unreliable (there's only so many times I can be late for work stuck in the orange line on the tunnel), or ride a bike, which has a limited demographic and calendar.

Introducing a new option that is car based increases traffic!

I would guess that the majority of uber/lyft users previously took mass transit, or take a ride sharing on some days instead of taking mass transit.

I need to get into the study business.

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but our leaders can't get public transportation to function properly.

I take Uber and Lyft everyday and I shouldn't be. I live close to 3 bus lines and would be more than happy to ride a bus but it takes 45 minutes for the bus to go three miles. that is insanity. On the weekends people have to wait 30 minutes for the bus to show up.

Install dedicated bus lanes and run them more often on the weekend.

The perfect example is the #9 bus. The bus carrying (40 people) has to take a lap around the Broadway T and then take a lap another lap (near Gillette) to get into the South End. That must add 15 minutes to the trip. Meanwhile, cars carrying 1 or 2 people have direct access to the T Stop and South End. Again, insanity and incompetence. A quick, easy solution that would go a long way is to shut down the block of West Broadway between A Street and Dotchester Ave to cars and only have Buses and Shuttles enter from 7:00am to 9:30am. Why can't our leaders fix this?

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The only people who take buses are people who can't afford an alternate, i.e. better, means of transportation.

Yes I'm being a bit facetious but there's a lot of truth to that statement.

Also the answer to terrible bus service isn't to restrict cars.

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You know what those are?

Lots of people willingly take those every day.

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Express buses are the exception, not the rule.

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Bus service is a terrible mainly because car drivers are causing traffic and slowing buses down. Buses reduce traffic. A bus with 40 people is 40 times more important than a car with 1 person, but yet our government treats them equally. That is ridiculous.

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Buses have to continually pull over to let people on and off, and since our friendly local drivers would rather beat a puppy to death with another puppy than let them pull back onto the road in front of them, they have to wait for a huge gap between cars to get back on the road again. Don't some cities have laws* about yielding to buses?

*for the sake of this post, if not reality, the laws in this case are enforced as aggressively as those regarding texting, crosswalks and red lights

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MBTA Buses can pull over to the curb? I don't believe I've ever observed this phenomenon.

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And if not, I sure can't blame them

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Most drivers are not puppy killers. Good. God.

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Buses suck because they need to stop every two blocks. Carpools reduce traffic too. And no a bus is not more important just because it carries more people. You people who hate cars are getting old. And for the record, I say that as a non-car owner.

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no a bus is not more important just because it carries more people.

Why not? The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, right? And transportation is about moving people and goods, right? So why is the vehicle that carries 40+ more people not given priority over the one that carries 1?

I don't hate cars. I don't even hate drivers! I'm just trying to make the city more open to all, safer, and less polluting.

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The majority of people can no longer afford apartments within walking distance to a subway stop (unless living with multiple roommates), so buses are much more mainstream these days. We put up with the suck because there's no other choice for most of us.

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The 9 does that funny loop in order to provide an accessible path to the elevator location at Broadway. Uber and Lift drivers don't have to worry about accomodating everybody.

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If there are curb ramps so everyone can cross the street, why does the bus have to stop directly in front of the elevator?

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That makes sense but the city could just make the other side accessible. a curb cut and a ramp would cost how much? A few hundred dollars?

You can even have cars with 3 more people enter the block to avoid the loop

Make the cars with 1 or 2 people do that funny loop

...and this is only during AM rush hour. 2 - 3 hours.

if anyone in the MBTA or the City is reading this put a trial together.

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Boston should make all non express buses that don't run in a dedicated tunnel free. And run more buses.

I can't think of another way to reduce traffic other than getting people out of cars for short city trips. Well, other than congestion pricing, which Boston traffic essentially is because of how much of your time is eaten.

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Earlier this week a livery driver shot himself in the head in front of the NY City Hall. He was having significant financial issues, a lot of which were attributed to Uber/Lyft. Apparently livery driver suicide is on the rise. And with the push to adopt driver-less cars, it'll only get worse.

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So whats your point?

That we should be paying higher fares to prop up a failing industry?

Why not also use tax dollars to prop up the coal industry?

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Trump is trying to prop up the coal industry, largely because coal workers are almost 100% white.

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Interesting racial statistic.

What is the racial makeup of those who commit armed robbery on working coal people?

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He supports coal because he doesn't know any better, nor does he care to learn anything. Coal jobs are going, or gone, and never coming back.

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There are other, and perhaps more pressing issues, than traffic and congestion.

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Love Lyft and Uber. Fuss all you want!

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