A dissertation published by UCLA's Institute for Transportation Studies (ITS) found that Lyft drivers served 99.8% of Los Angeles County, in a study measuring ride-hailing use and patterns of discrimination.
Anne E. Brown, a doctoral student at ITS, analyzed over 6.3 million trips taken with Lyft in 2016 in Los Angeles to observe rider use and travel patterns. Brown also studied 1,700 Lyft, Uber, and taxi rides to measure wait times and ride cancellations against racial, ethnic, and gender demographics.
ITS found that black riders faced higher instances of ride cancellations from taxis compared to ride-hailing services. Black taxi riders were 73% more likely to have taxis cancel rides compared to white riders, meanwhile ride-hailing services were 4% more likely to cancel on black riders compared to white riders. About a quarter of black riders did not reach their destination via taxi. Taxis also had extended wait times for black riders, about 52% longer than wait times for white riders.
While Lyft has penetrated the most densely populated parts of LA, 40% of users made fewer than one trip per month, illustrating that a sizeable portion of Lyft riders do not use the service to meet regular travel needs.
The study found correlations between lower rates of vehicle ownership and higher rates of Lyft use. Lyft Line, an option designed to provide more affordable ride-hailing service, saw greater use among residents of low-income neighborhoods and comprised 29% of all Lyft trips in the county. ITS also found that Lyft usage was lower in majority Asian and Hispanic neighborhoods, either because car access needs were met through other services, or those neighborhoods faced barriers with lower access to smartphones or banking.
In other Lyft news, the San Francisco-based group recently acquired Motivate, a bike-sharing program from Ford, as part of its Green Cities initiative.
The full dissertation can be read here.