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Ride hailing in Toronto

Earlier this year, the University of Toronto Transportation Research Institute (UTTRI) published this report on the impacts of ride hailing services in the City of Toronto.

And then today, the Ryerson City Building Institute leveraged it to opine on how “on-demand tech” might improve transit going forward. That’s how I discovered it.

What is clear from the report is that ride-hailing services — which they refer to as Private Transportation Companies (PTC) — are driven by two dominant use cases: 1) going out at night and 2) commuting to and from work.

Friday and Saturday nights are by far the busiest periods for PTC travel, with the peak usually happening around midnight on Sunday morning. About 13,100 trips per hour, mostly concentrated in the core.

Overall, it is estimated that Toronto does about 176,000 daily PTC trips (as of March 2019). That places it behind New York and Chicago in terms of the size of the market. But Toronto also didn’t complete its first PTC until 2014. Here’s a comparison chart:

Another diagram that I found interesting was the proportion of shared ride trips by neighborhood. It shows that much of the inner suburbs are hailing shared rides — sometimes as high as 45% of all trips. This is interesting because it is people effectively gaming the system.

Because the population densities are lower in the suburbs than in the core, you’re a lot less likely to get paired with other riders when you select that option. So what tends to happen is that you end up getting a private ride for the price of shared ride. I know I’ve played the odds before.

If you’d like to download a full copy of the report, click here.


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