Uber and Lyft have wreaked havoc on the local taxi industry, in addition to having dented the rental car market. Now, it appears, ride-sharing companies are attracting customers from public transportation.
The Regional Transportation Commission reported last week that passenger counts during the 2016-17 fiscal year dropped more than 10 percent on the Deuce and Strip &Downtown Express routes. Strip buses generated $20.23 million during the period, down almost 12 percent from the previous year.
“We recognize the fact that with new technologies like Uber and Lyft in the market there will be a dip in public transit ridership numbers, and we’re OK with that,” RTC General Manager Tina Quigley said. “It just means that we need to be adept, be willing to change and adjust our schedules appropriately.”
While the RTC receives taxpayer funding and therefore isn’t in danger of extinction, Ms. Quigley’s attitude is in welcome contrast to the reaction from members of the Las Vegas cab cartel to Uber and Lyft. Instead of improving their service to succeed in a more competitive marketplace, their reflexive instinct was to lobby state lawmakers to cripple the ride-sharing industry.
That proved an embarassing failure. Meanwhile, Ms. Quigley was to something when she talks about a willingness to “change and adjust.” USA Today reported in January that several mass transit purveyors are partnering with ride-sharing companies to make it easier for consumers to get around by encouraging them to, say, Uber to the bus stop or to the rail station. More and more travelers, the paper reported, are using the two means of transportation interchangeably.
Adapting to these realities represents the future, not trying to turn back the clock through rent-seeking and protectionism.