Ride shares leading to traffic trouble in Boston? Uber, Lyft say 'pump the brakes'

By: Robert Goulston

Updated:

BOSTON - Getting an Uber or ordering a Lyft. It's now one of the more popular ways to get around Boston, but are all those ride shares affecting traffic congestion??

Boston roads have never been tighter and now the push to get people to ride share has people wondering if that’s become too much.

“You’re seeing Lyft and Uber on every corner. It’s not about how many you are seeing, it’s about when you are seeing them,” said Lawrence Graham of Boston.

On a rainy mid-afternoon on Wednesday, Boston 25 News Reporter Robert Goulston saw Uber after Lyft making their way through Government Center.

“I do have a little bit of a problem with them blocking the sidewalks and dropping off on the corners,” said Keith Fanning of Boston.

Over at Newbury Street, more Ubers and Lyfts.

“Every time people who are driving Ubers and Lyfts are stopping in the middle off the street, dropping people off and picking people up,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

In Boston, there are no restrictions on how many ride shares can operate on any given day, like there are for cab drivers and tourism buses.

“There should definitely be some sort of cap or number on it,” said Fanning.

Lyft New England says its ridership in Boston has doubled in this year alone. Neither company would release day to day numbers, but we tracked down one ride share driver who admits there are a lot of them in the city.

“Traffic is pretty tough sometimes,” said the driver who wished to stay anonymous.

Boston 25 News reached out to the companies.

“UberPOOL is now our fastest growing product in the Commonwealth because more and more Bostonians are choosing to save money and share their ride. Uber also helps residents connect to public transit and allows residents to rely less on car ownership,” said an Uber spokesperson.

"Since day one, Lyft has been focused on increasing occupancy in cars on the road. We've seen tremendous growth in Boston since launching here in 2013 and are proud of the role we play in the city's transportation ecosystem. Not only do we help passengers get around safely and reliably, but we see many using Lyft to connect with the MBTA, and to share a ride with others going the same direction through Lyft Line. We are committed to offering convenient, affordable, and sustainable transportation in the city of Boston," said Tyler George, General Manager, Lyft New England.

Both ride shares are pushing new carpooling programs where multiple people can use the same car for a lower price.

Uber says UberPOOL is its fastest-growing product in Boston and Lyft says its carpooling option Lyft Line accounts for more than one third of all trips nationally. 

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