Why NYC’s Cab-Sharing Idea is a Bad One

03/04/2010 11:13 AM |


  • Would you share a cab with these men?

In theory, I suppose cab-sharing isn’t a terrible idea: thousands of cars clogging up the city every day with just one or two passengers is kind of ridiculous, so why not increase the efficiency of those gas-miles by adding more people?

Ok, sure, I see the logic there. But from the broader perspective of much-needed public transit reform, this particular version of cab-sharing (three pick-up points, with Grand Central as the single terminus) just facilitates the dangerously outmoded idea of the car as a valid means of urban transportation. Because it’s not.

As MTA budgets are slashed and service takes a hit, the last thing we should be doing is encouraging people to take more taxis. We need a greater frequency of buses and subways so the aggravating sardine commuting experience doesn’t continue to push people into cars. One of the anecdotes from this Post story gets to exactly what I’m talking about:

Accountant Elliot Schwartz was surprised he couldn’t find a cabmate at 57th Street. “I’m going to walk up one block to Columbia and take the M104 bus,” he said after waiting about 20 minutes.


Again, I understand the specific logic of “if the car is on the road anyway, why not maximize its transit potential,” but this is a problem that requires a bigger picture approach—we need legislation that will engender mores, rather than waiting for mores to engender legislation. Yup, that might sound all socialist and everything, and I wouldn’t want to deprive each and every God-fearing American of his or her car but… ok, actually I would.

UPDATE: Maybe the angry people who got arrested last night protesting the proposed elimination of a dozen bus lines can just take taxis instead.

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