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Old Posted Dec 12, 2014, 8:56 AM
kylemacmac kylemacmac is offline
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Rideshare in Vancouver Discussion: Uber, Lyft, Sidecar - emerging technologies

Looking to discuss potential transportation developments in urban transport with new on-demand rideshare techniologies. I know we don't have these in Vancouver yet, but it's only a matter of time before it becomes politically unsustainable to continue to ban rideshare in Vancouver.

I'm especially excited about shared for-hire services like Lyft Line, Lyft Driver Destination, Uberpool and Sidecar Shared Rides - and how these ideas can evolve once electrical vehicles and self-driving cars proliferate.

I'm a big believer that rideshare will play an important part in the future of transportation and that the current idea of taxis vs. rideshare is extremely short sighted - the potential for on-demand rideshare to significantly grow the taxi-ish industries exists because of the Smartphone and GPS mapping technology.

I can go on and on about this stuff, and likely will - just keen to see what others see as potential developments, challenges, and ideas re: rideshare and other innovative on-demand transportation technology.


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Old Posted Dec 12, 2014, 8:59 AM
SOSS SOSS is offline
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What cities are these various programs currently in? Have they been successful?
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Old Posted Dec 12, 2014, 10:06 AM
kylemacmac kylemacmac is offline
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Originally Posted by SOSS View Post
What cities are these various programs currently in? Have they been successful?
As of Dec 12, 2014:
Uberpool is in SF, NYC, and Paris.
Lyft Line is in SF, LA and NYC.
Lyft Driver Destination is in SF and LA.
Sidecar Shared Rides is in SF, Chicago, San Diego.

And these services can be rolled out in dozens more cities at a moment's notice, if enough network effect is present.

They're proving to be very successful and opening up the idea of rideshare/shared-taxi service to a whole new category of people that would never have previously considered taking taxis multiple times per day.

Lyft claims that over 30% of all their rides are now Lyft Lines - so yes it's proving to be very popular.

It's worth noting that shared ride services of this nature can only be rolled out once a market has enough users present to make it economically-advantageous to put riders in the same vehicle on the same route - so while Lyft or Uber may arrive in a city, it may take some time for the shared-ride service to arrive. (Remember when wi-fi hotspots first turned up?)

The taxi industry was said to be worth $120 million dollars per year in San Francisco and Uber alone says their revenues in SF are now a "healthy multiple" higher that that, as the market grows and people sell their personal vehicles - Don't let taxi companies fool you. Uber and Lyft don't simply take a finite amount of taxi market share - they grow the market.

Think of the taxi/rideshare market in these terms:
How many photographs did you take when you had a film camera? How many do you take now?

Obviously Kodak was upset at going bankrupt, but I don't see anyone complaining that they don't have to shell out $20 to get 24 pictures developed IN AN HOUR !

Here's a good overview (a bit long) of Lyft Line: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptF7egVtLaU

And an excellent overview from earlier in the year about how people are continually under-perceiving the potential disruption of these new technologies:
http://abovethecrowd.com/2014/07/11/...l-market-size/


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Old Posted Dec 12, 2014, 10:17 AM
kylemacmac kylemacmac is offline
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I think something important to consider right now re: Vancouver Taxis is that due to restricted market entry, the taxi permits are artificially inflated and worth close to $1 million each. The result of this is that drivers pay more than $40,000 each just for the RIGHT to operate a taxi. That doesn't include the car. Or the gas. Or insurance. Or repairs. Just the right to operate a taxi.

40% of your fare goes towards paying the lease fee for the absentee permit holder. So for every $20 you spend in a cab, $8 goes to somebody who adds zero value to the transaction. With approximately 30% going to vehicle payment, insurance, repairs and gas, only about 30% of your fare goes to the driver in wage.

When you remove the cap on number of taxis in a city, the artificially-high permit value / lease rate disappears and that $8 goes back to you - so a $20 taxi ride becomes a $12 taxi ride. And no cap on market entry means more readily available taxis; easier to get a ride when you need one. And then if you share that taxi, your cost may drop up to 50% further, let's say $7 to be on the safe side. And remember, with proper legislation and technology, all these savings can exist while the driver gets paid the same as before.

If you can imagine a future of imagine fleet-managed electric driverless taxis that are both on-demand and optimized geographically it's easy to see how the costs may be brought down further, potentially by orders of magnitudes. It may one day be economically viable to create for-profit innovations in public transit that are both a) far, far cheaper than current taxis b) much faster than most public transit c) even potentially cheaper than Translink public transit

But for the time being, I'm focusing on getting Uber and Lyft operational so we can reap the benefit of more choice. And I'm pretty sure there's A LOT more people that will ride in taxis/rideshare if they were both more readily available and 1/3 the price. Heck, I'm sure more people will ride in taxis/rideshare if they aren't refused service to the suburbs, among other things.

Vancouver has one of the lowest number of taxis per capita on the continent, so you'd think it'd be the perfect place for Uber and Lyft to expand next, but the extremely low limit of taxis (only 588 full times taxis in the city) has led to an extremely powerful and litigious cartel that controls the market as a de-facto monopoly, blocking all new entrants who try to start a new taxi or on-demand rideshare service.

I actually think it's the city's most under-reported case of corruption. It's an industry that claims to be for the public good, but acts entirely in the interest of itself and private gain. Taxis are really just on-demand public transit, and we the public should demand, and get, far better options.

You can read much more on how to improve the Vancouver Taxi System on Benn Proctor's SFU Capstone Thesis, DL-able as a PDF: http://summit.sfu.ca/system/files/iritems1/14007/etd8329_BProctor.pdf

Last edited by kylemacmac; Dec 17, 2014 at 1:39 AM.
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Old Posted Dec 12, 2014, 5:17 PM
aberdeen5698 aberdeen5698 is offline
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Originally Posted by kylemacmac View Post
It may one day be economically viable to create for-profit innovations in public transit that are both a) far, far cheaper than current taxis b) much faster than most public transit c) even potentially cheaper than Translink public transit
The physical reality is that individual vehicles will never be as efficient as transit vehicles - that applies in terms of operating costs as well as the requirement for the road capacity needed to move rush hour crowds. Don't forget that all these technological innovations that people are looking forward to for individual cars will also be applied to transit. Driverless buses will bring huge economies to the operating costs of transit, just as it has for Skytrain. Individual vehicles will still have the edge for personalized door-to-door service, but there will always be a role for mass transit.
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Old Posted Dec 13, 2014, 12:24 AM
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The physical reality is that individual vehicles will never be as efficient as transit vehicles - that applies in terms of operating costs as well as the requirement for the road capacity needed to move rush hour crowds. Don't forget that all these technological innovations that people are looking forward to for individual cars will also be applied to transit. Driverless buses will bring huge economies to the operating costs of transit, just as it has for Skytrain.
Even in the City of Vancouver, where transit usage is high, private vehicles have a 56% passenger load share, while transit is at 22%. That means driverless cars would have to be only 39% more efficient on city streets. With vehicle to vehicle communication, cars will be able to run in platoons through intersections giving us gains in efficiency far higher than 39%. Likely high enough efficiency that there will be bike lanes on every street. Don't be surprised if the Skytrain is no longer operating in 30 years. Elevated bike lanes! And I don't think that;s so far fetched. Look at how radically advanced computers and cell phones are compared to 30 years ago.
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Old Posted Dec 13, 2014, 12:32 AM
aberdeen5698 aberdeen5698 is offline
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With vehicle to vehicle communication, cars will be able to run in platoons through intersections...
You're describing a vision of the future which isn't going go happen for a few decades. The technology may be close at hand, but we can't achieve anywhere near close to those kinds of efficiences until we get all the manually driven cars off the road. Don't think it's going to be easy to pry vehicles out of drivers' hands. And we're not going to see the kinds of narrow safety margins you're scenario needs until we've gone through a few generations of automated vehicles and worked out the technological and legal liability kinks. That means generations of expensive vehicles that aren't even on the drawing board yet will have to be bought, become obsolete, and be retired before we can get there.

In the meantime, the population will grow, demanding more capacity. Platooned cars carrying individual occupants are still way more space consumptive than a mass transit vehicle. The geometry and physics are against you, and they can't be altered by technology - at least not until we can "beam" things via a Star Trek-like transporter.
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Old Posted Dec 13, 2014, 1:12 AM
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In the meantime, the population will grow, demanding more capacity. Platooned cars carrying individual occupants are still way more space consumptive than a mass transit vehicle. The geometry and physics are against you, and they can't be altered by technology - at least not until we can "beam" things via a Star Trek-like transporter.
Of course you can't fit as many cars and passengers in the same space as a train, but you don't need to. The passenger load will be spread out evenly throughout the city. You don't think there's enough room for at least twice as many vehicles on the roads with V2V communication? When a light turns green at an intersection, a car goes through (per lane) every 2 seconds. A platoon of vehicles would mean at least 4 cars go through every 2 seconds. We've seen platooning in real world situations on freeways, so this is not fantasy. Even without V2V communication, all the car has to do is react twice as fast to the car in front of it moving forward and you have double the efficiency at intersections. Surely a computer is at least twice as fast as a human.

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Old Posted Dec 13, 2014, 3:47 AM
kylemacmac kylemacmac is offline
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automated vehicle platooning through intersections via V2V and sensory tech is remarkable when you imagine the implications.

I really think public transport is set to enter a brave new future, driven by consumer transit demand. With people looking for luxury/interesting services operating alongside base-level services. Think of things in terms of coffee. You can make coffee at home for 25 cents a cup, or you can buy it at Timmy's for $1 a cup. You can also buy coffee for $5 a cup at Starbucks. I think market diversification is ready to be unleashed for public transit, and public transit-ish services like rideshare.

But never underestimate the ability of the automobile lobby to steer public discourse and policy on this issue to up-market folks into buying their OWN driverless cars instead of the utility of being able to use driverless vehicles in a transit/taxi hybrid fashion - It's no mistake that the Georgia Viaduct was built upon the demolished Prior Streetcar barn - the automobile lobby was just so strong the 50s.

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Old Posted Dec 13, 2014, 3:51 AM
kylemacmac kylemacmac is offline
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Originally Posted by aberdeen5698 View Post
Don't think it's going to be easy to pry vehicles out of drivers' hands.
But that's just it !

We won't be prying vehicles out of drivers hands, we'll be providing a FAR superior service than having to drive yourself around. An aspirational advantage that people will definitely want.

Millenials are turing towards urban car-free living and many are simply not getting drivers licenses at all. When you don't have a driver's license, the idea of "prying a steering wheel out of sombody's hands" is a moot point.

Pretty soon the idea of having to drive your own vehicle might seem as backwards as having to use a payphone or rent a physical VHS/DVD from Blockbuster video.

Last edited by kylemacmac; Dec 13, 2014 at 4:30 AM.
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Old Posted Dec 13, 2014, 4:39 AM
kylemacmac kylemacmac is offline
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"Driverless Ubers could drop fares over 75%"

http://www.mojomotors.com/blog/drive...er-75-percent/


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Old Posted Dec 13, 2014, 6:07 AM
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Apparently the Uber CEO already admitted the long term goal is driverless cars. That would make it a lot more appealing to me, since the driver is usually the worst part of the experience.

I still prefer to drive myself via modo at least though. Saw a cabbie hit a bike on Robson today while turning into a hotel, pretty horrific.
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Old Posted Dec 13, 2014, 6:29 AM
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automated vehicle platooning through intersections via V2V and sensory tech is remarkable when you imagine the implications.
Here's what I expect... very very long term. Like 2075...

PRT(Private Rail Transport)/PVT(Private Vehicle Transport) will ultimately win out. This is where all vehicles will be equiped with GPS beacons, and communicate with each other and traffic control equipment. Hey if we can do it with the Internet, we certainly can do it with conventional cars.

The early stages of this will be manually driven cars with automatically firing safety controls, akin to ATP (Automatic Tran Protection) in CBTC systems. Each road segment will either be "ON", "OFF", or "BYPASS" so every few blocks you switch between vehicle control networks automatically. People will also be fined automatically for violating strict safety rules, which will quickly make it expensive for people to drive manually.

The next stage will be primarily automated vehicles. If you have enough money you can buy a completely private vehicle to take you anywhere, and if you're lucky you get to drive the last mile to or from your destination if it's more than 100 meters from the road network. If you can't afford your own car, you can request any vehicle you want (eg as in Uber or Zip Car) for exclusive use for a limited period of time, ranging from an hour to a month. Anything less than an hour switches to a transit/taxi service which will find the closest empty automated vehicle and send it do your current location.

But none of this will happen until the safety environment is made strict enough so that no manually driven car collides with automated ones. Even police, fire and emergency vehicles would be integrated into the automated system, but allowed to override the vehicle network flow control to prioritize their traffic, and prevent collisions.

But this is something that is a long ways away, and Google is trying to make it work from the car's POV, but it just is not going to happen. It may help truckers eventually, by making it so that the truck can drive itself under ideal conditions, but city routes requires city-assisted automation.

Now, last detail. When I said PRT (Rail), I was envisioning a building-to-building network, eg Condos to Office buildings that complements electric powered surface vehicles. Except this track runs directly through one floor of the building and is covered like any pedestrian bridge. The purpose of the PRT is to reduce pedestrian traffic at ground level.
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Old Posted Dec 13, 2014, 6:31 AM
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The idea of driverless cars creates a new challenge. Since people wouldn't have to actively interact with the environment they have the opportunity to do other things like check social media, news or get some work done etc. People will be far more willing to travel a longer distances. because of ease of travel. Theory being that someone will live even further from their work since they can be productive on route, travel faster (ideally), enjoy a cheaper single detached home, etc. If this holds true then that will lead to additional vehicles on the road competing for the same space. Driverless cars could lead to a new era of urban sprawl.

Technically these vehicles are possible in short time (less than 5 years with the funds/resources Google is investing) however legally I don't see them being on the road any time soon. Too many questions... think about the insurance aspect: person in driverless car gets into accident (it will happen, lets just be honest), who is at fault? the person in the car? the manufacturer? the software engineer? On the software side someone will have to program priorities for mitigating damage. i.e. Car knows it will get into accident and has to choose between hitting other vehicle and killing its occupant, swerving to avoid accident and taking out cyclist, or swerving a different way and taking out a pedestrian.

I think the technology is amazing with endless possibilities. Likely inevitable. 0s and 1s can react way faster than any human. Great possibility to reduce overall harm to society with reduced bodily injuries, reduced vehicle damage, etc. Just too many unknowns right now.
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Old Posted Dec 13, 2014, 7:27 AM
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driver-less cars do exist technically. if you look at the Mercedes-Benz S-Class it can fully drive itself. it just doesn't want to do it. but with destronic, parktronic, active lane keeping assist, active blind spot monitoring and everything else. it does fully drive itself and keeps itself in the lane. but, it just doesn't like to. it has a panic attack if you take your hand off the wheel for a few seconds.

but yes, driver-less cars do "technically" exist currently.

it should be interesting to see when it becomes mainstream with more cars and when people actually let it drive, since it can.
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Old Posted Dec 13, 2014, 7:47 AM
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driver-less cars do exist technically. if you look at the Mercedes-Benz S-Class it can fully drive itself. it just doesn't want to do it. but with destronic, parktronic, active lane keeping assist, active blind spot monitoring and everything else. it does fully drive itself and keeps itself in the lane. but, it just doesn't like to. it has a panic attack if you take your hand off the wheel for a few seconds.

but yes, driver-less cars do "technically" exist currently.

it should be interesting to see when it becomes mainstream with more cars and when people actually let it drive, since it can.
Actually that "panic" is to keep the drivers attention on the road.

Like, certainly the technology does exist to make a car "drive itself" but the necessary communication networks do not exist. Even if a mobile network (eg LTE) is available, it's not available over every square meter of the planet, it's often only available within 1km of a major roadway. The Rogers/Telus/Bell network is pretty sad in that aspect. AT&T likewise between Seattle and Chicago. You're lucky if you even get a 3G connection at all.

Without a high bandwidth network available, realtime navigation maps are not possible. The amount of bandwidth required to do what google does is an entire scale different (it has essentially millimeter level 3D data and compares it with realtime scanning to detect "what is there" from what isn't supposed to be there)

Like, in the next 30 years we will see safety features creep into vehicles, and eventually they will become standard, and then the insurance companies will mandate that the features, making expensive retrofits or face reduced operational areas.

The "insurance mandated GPS" is pretty close right now. There's just a lot of privacy issues that haven't been figured out yet. Kiss running red lights/stop signs and speeding goodbye, because such a system will certainly punish with impunity even accidental mistakes.

Which maybe is the push needed to move to automation.
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Old Posted Dec 13, 2014, 8:26 AM
aberdeen5698 aberdeen5698 is offline
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Of course you can't fit as many cars and passengers in the same space as a train, but you don't need to.
Road space is not going to increase. Population will. Even if automated vehicles do improve efficiency, at some point the available space will still fill up. When that happens mass transit vehicles will still be required because they utilize that space more efficiently. They're also cheaper to run and are needed for those people who can't afford their own vehicles or the premium rates that will be required to rent them (compared to automated mass transit).
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Old Posted Dec 13, 2014, 9:04 PM
kylemacmac kylemacmac is offline
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"How Uber Helps Women Break Into the Taxi Industry"

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/...ngle_page=true

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Old Posted Dec 13, 2014, 9:05 PM
kylemacmac kylemacmac is offline
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"Self-driving Cars are Coming" -Peter Diamandis

http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterdia...rs-are-coming/

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Old Posted Dec 15, 2014, 11:58 PM
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"Autonomous Cars Will Require a Totally New Kind of Map"

http://www.wired.com/2014/12/nokia-h...mous-car-maps/
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