News

Councilor Flynn to Call for Hearing on TNC (Uber/Lyft) Issues in Boston 

Cites Pick Up/Drop Off Safety, Traffic, Sustainability and Consumer Protection

See press release below:

BOSTON – Boston City Councilor Ed Flynn will call for a hearing at tomorrow’s Council meeting on issues related to Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), such as Uber and Lyft, operating in the City of Boston. Recognizing the integral role that TNCs now play in our overall transportation system, as well as the convenience they provide, the hearing will focus on concerns from residents regarding this evolving industry and measures to address traffic and congestion, public safety and Vision Zero due to the lack of designated pick up and drop off areas, the environment, and consumer protection.

Recent data and research show:

  • More than 42 million rides in Boston in 2018, or over 115,000 per day (DPU)
  • A 21% increase from 2017 to 2018 in TNC rides that began in Boston, according to the Department of Public Utilities (DPU)
  • 59% of all ride sharing trips are adding additional vehicles in our region, according to the Metropolitan Area Planning Council
  • Boston was rated worst in the nation with traffic and congestion, according to INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard released in 2019

Moreover, residents have highlighted concerns regarding public safety and Vision Zero due to reports of speeding vehicles, as well as the lack of designated pick up and drop off areas in the city; which has resulted in double parking or vehicles pulling over in the middle of the street and posing safety risks for all on the road. TNCs are also regulated by the Department of Public Utilities, while taxicabs are under the purview of the Hackney Division at the Boston Police Department.

This additional traffic also creates environmental concerns as the additional vehicles affect our air quality, increase carbon emissions, and run contrary to the goal of promoting sustainable transportation methods such as public transportation, biking, or walking. Residents have also called attention to consumer protection as prices jump significantly during sporting or city events, or when the MBTA breaks down.

The hearing will also discuss ways to leverage the demand to TNCs to improve our transportation infrastructure, as well as regulations other cities have enacted on TNCs. New York City placed a cap on the number of TNCs in the city for one year, and established a minimum wage for drivers. Other municipalities have imposed fees on TNC rides, and cities like San Francisco have piloted geofencing at appropriate areas of the city to limit pickups, reduce congestion, and discourage double parking.

“I understand the key role TNCs play in our overall transportation network and the convenience they provide for many residents and visitors to the City of Boston. At the same time, the data clearly shows that they also belong in our discussions about traffic and sustainability,” said Councilor Ed Flynn. “Residents have also expressed safety concerns about designated pick up/drop off areas and geofencing in appropriate locations. I look forward to having a robust discussion about the ways that the city can work with TNCs and use data to make our streets safer, less congested, and better for everyone.”

For more information, please contact Councilor Flynn’s office at 617-635-3203 or Ed.Flynn@Boston.gov.

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Maureen Dahill

Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Hockey mom, yoga enthusiast, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.