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Ride-hailing services on the rise in America - report

Alyssa Clementi

UberPoolIn a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in fall of 2018, it was found that ride-hailing apps such as Lyft and Uber have become increasingly popular in America. According to the study, 36 per cent of Americans have used a ride-hailing service in 2018. Three years ago, only 15 per cent of Americans had used a ride-hailing service, and one-third had never heard of such services before.

Although the use of ride-hailing services has generally increased throughout all demographics, categories such as income, age, and educational attainment are yielding major statistical differences. For example, the Pew Research Center found that roughly half of Americans ages 18 to 29 (51 per cent) say they have used a ride-hailing service, compared with 24 per cent of those ages 50 and older. Americans with an annual household income of $75,000 or more are about twice as likely to use a ride-hailing app as Americans earning less than $30,000, or 53 per cent versus 24 per cent. 55 per cent of adults who have bachelor’s degree or higher have used a ride-hailing service, compared to the 20 per cent of adults who have a high school diploma or less.

Location is also a key factor when it comes to customers of ride-hailing apps, with 45 per cent of urban residents and 40 per cent of suburban residents having used a ride-hailing service before, compared to 19 per cent of rural residents. The study also found that among Americans with an annual income of $75,000 or more, residents of urban areas are more than twice as likely to use a ride-hailing service as high-income individuals living in rural communities (71 per cent vs. 32 per cent). Additionally, “substantial” differences between urban and suburban app-hailing users depended on education and age (18 to 29).

According to the Pew Research Center, “These differences could be related to the fact that ride-hailing services are less widespread in rural areas. This survey did not specifically ask if people knew whether ride-hailing services were available in their community, but a separate Center survey conducted earlier this year found that rural residents were significantly more likely than those living in other areas to say access to public transportation is a major problem where they live.”

Ride-hailing services such as Lyft, Uber, and Via have strived to appeal to rural customers, but factors such as population density, long travel distance and relatively low incentives for drivers have proven to hinder popularity.

The survey also measured the frequency at which customers were using the ride-hailing services, finding that one-in-ten adults used the apps weekly, and only two per cent used them daily or almost daily. 22 per cent of adults used the apps on a monthly basis, while 67 per cent of customers used the services less than once a month. The report explained, “Three per cent of the US adult population today uses ride-hailing apps on a weekly basis – a share that is largely unchanged from 2015, when three per cent of Americans reported being weekly riders.”

Of all the adults who reported using ride-hailing apps on a weekly basis, urban users took the lead with 19 per cent, followed by suburban users at six per cent, and rural users at five per cent.
Americans aged 18 to 49 are more likely to report weekly ride-hailing app usage than Americans 50 and older, or 12 per cent versus seven per cent.

You can read the full report here.