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The use of Uberpool and its Relationship with Public Transport -A London case study

Mohamed, Mohamed Jama Haibeh

Authors

Mohamed Jama Haibeh Mohamed



Abstract

The growth of novel forms of shared and non-shared ridesourcing services such as Uberpool and UberX, are nowadays a common feature of transport options in many cities globally (i.e., London). The rapid growth of these new services is creating challenges and opportunities for transport authorities and policymakers who so far have been slow to respond to policy and operational demands.

There has been much publicity about the possible effects of Uber services in London and ongoing debates among the transport authorities and other key stakeholders on how or if these services should be managed or regulated. However, with the absence of empirical data and a clear understanding of the current and future implications for traditional PT modes, the consequences of ridesourcing services on London’s transport system are not evident. This study provides insights about the usage and user characteristics of ridesourcing services and how such services work with PT modes and explores the implications of Uberpool on conventional PT in terms of policy and operations.

The literature review for this study revealed that empirical research on shared ridesourcing has been limited, mostly because of limited data availability and as a result, effects on other modes such as PT are less understood. Current literature indicates some of the key factors in ridesourcing adoption, include the socio-demographic of users, convenience, cost, and general changing attitudes towards sharing.

The current literature on ridesourcing shows that most of the existing research the topic was primarily undertaken in a North American (i.e., the USA) perspective and the findings do not fully capture the policy, and operational issues that relate specifically to a European or UK context. Furthermore, shared ridesourcing is not adequately addressed in the current literature, particularly its impact and relationship with PT services. As such, it is not fully understood, and there is no consensus on how transport authorities and policymakers should deal with these new services. In addition, previous research mainly used a singular approach or considered only one stakeholder (i.e., the users or drivers) and thus did not fully consider the perspectives from all interested parties such as the users, drivers, service providers (TNCs), policymakers and transport authorities and other transport mode operators.

To achieve the study objectives and address the research gaps, the following three primary research questions were established.
1. How are UberX and Uberpool currently used in a city like London?
2. What attracts people to Uberpool in a city like London?
3. How do transport authorities and the conventional public transport industry deal with Uberpool in a city like London?

For this study, a mixed-methods approach involving the collection of quantitative and qualitative data was used. The quantitative data were collected using a survey of UberX and Uberpool users in London, which yielded 907 responses. The qualitative data were collected using a combination of interviews with 31 different transport policymakers, PT operators and other key stakeholders and focus groups with 28 London Uber drivers. The interview and focus group data were analysed using a thematic approach to find meaningful themes in the data. The survey data was initially analysed using descriptive statistical analysis and cross-tabulation. Moreover, several categorical regression (CATREG) models were developed for the survey data to investigate a greater understanding of the key factors that influenced how and why Uberpool services were used in London.

The results indicated that most Uberpool users in London were employed (77.4% of respondents) and educated to degree level (89.5%), with 60% of respondents using PT (i.e., Buses, Trains/Tube) for same or similar trips before Uber and 49.9% of trip purposes were going to “work, college/school, or PT station/stop”. The key factors which influenced a passengers’ decision to use Uberpool instead of PT modes included “perception on safety, compared to PT modes”, “employment status”, “age group”, “trip purpose”, and “car ownership at present”. The results revealed that Uberpool was popular with students, travellers making social (i.e., night out) or long-distance trips. The findings highlight that transport authorities were currently poorly equipped (for various reasons) to deal with these new on-demand services, and there was a need to develop specific transport policy measures and regulations for ridesourcing services which considered input from all key stakeholders, including service providers, PT operators, the users, and ridesourcing drivers.

At the time of completion, this was the first study in the UK that used empirical data collected from key stakeholders (i.e., users, Uber drivers and policymakers) to investigate how shared (Uberpool) and non-shared (UberX) ridesourcing services are used and its relationship with traditional PT modes. The findings present important insights into the implications of ridesourcing services for traditional PT, active mode, and the influencing factors on why users adopt ridesourcing instead of other modes and the findings can support policymakers and transport authorities during policy and regulation development.

In this study, several key recommendations are offered, including the need to integrate ridesourcing services with other modes of transport in London (e.g., the PT) and providing guidance to ridesourcing and PT operators on how best these services should be integrated (e.g., payment systems) to complement one another and reduce negative impacts the city’s PT network. Furthermore, suggestions on ridesourcing data collection and monitoring methods are presented to address the lack of ridesourcing data, which remains a significant issue in London. In addition, suggestions are made for developing specific regulations for ridesourcing, since there are currently no specific regulations covering ridesourcing in London, and these services are operating under the PHV regulations, which was not developed for these types of services and thus did not address the challenges brought forth by shared and non-shared ridesourcing services. The development of new ridesourcing regulations should involve consultations with all key stakeholders and should aim to maximise the opportunities offered by ridesourcing services whilst addressing the existing regulatory gaps in the taxi and PHV legislation, including driver standards, welfare (i.e., maximum working hours and sick pay) and defining clear responsibilities for all those who are involved in providing ridesourcing.

Considering this study’s scope, several opportunities for future research are identified, including future research to understand inequalities in accessing and using ridesourcing services, particularly for the elderly and those who do not have access to the internet or smartphones. Moreover, additional studies are suggested to clarify the role of Uberpool services in fulfilling first and last-mile trips, including how often PT passengers used shared ridesourcing to connect to/from PT modes (i.e., the tube, trains, or buses). Further research is recommended to investigate the broader effects of all the different ridesourcing services on London’s traffic congestion and the wider economic implications from these services, including benefits, disbenefits and the total costs of these services for the city, users, and the drivers.

Citation

Mohamed, M. J. H. The use of Uberpool and its Relationship with Public Transport -A London case study. (Thesis). Edinburgh Napier University. Retrieved from http://researchrepository.napier.ac.uk/Output/2952214

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Nov 10, 2022
Publicly Available Date Nov 10, 2022
DOI https://doi.org/10.17869/ENU.2022.2952214
Public URL http://researchrepository.napier.ac.uk/Output/2952214
Award Date Jul 7, 2022

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