Fascinating piece in the Wall Street Journal about the impact of ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft on major metropolitan areas - instead of reducing traffic congestion in places like New York, Chicago and San Francisco, they've actually increased it.
Which is why officials in these cities, the story says, are imposing new fees on Lyft and Uber rides, and regulators in other cities are considering the same approach.
Here's how the Journal reports it out:
"The app makers initially thought their technology would create seamless trips, with four strangers forsaking their own cars for a shared ride. Cutting-edge algorithms, they believed, would steer behavior through pricing and route-matching, letting drivers spend little time between trips. Riders leaving their cars at home would then increasingly hop on buses, bikes or walk in a gridlock-easing ripple effect.
"That utopia hasn’t come to pass.
"Most users take their own private Lyfts and Ubers, shunning pooling even though it costs them more. Rather than the apps becoming a model of algorithm-driven efficiency, drivers in major cities cruise for fares without passengers an estimated 40% of the time.
"Multiple studies show that Uber and Lyft have pulled people away from buses, subways and walking, and that the apps add to the overall amount of driving in the U.S."
The Journal goes on:
"The reversal of ride-hailing from would-be traffic hero to congestion villain is the sort of unintended consequence that has become a recurring feature of Silicon Valley disruption. Companies seeking rapid growth by reinventing the way we do things are delivering solutions that sometimes create their own problems.
"Facebook Inc. set out to help connect people with each other, but also contributed to the spread of division and disinformation. E-cigarette company Juul Labs Inc. said it could reduce cigarette smoking, but fueled a crisis of teen vaping. Encrypted messaging apps designed to foster online privacy have become favorite communication tools of criminals."
You can read the entire story here.