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Blumenberg on Rideshare Pilot Program in Ohio

Urban Planning Professor Evelyn Blumenberg spoke to the Columbus Dispatch about a proposed ride-share program in Grove City, Ohio. The Central Ohio Transit Authority and Grove City plan to implement a ride-share program to bridge the distance between public transit stops and people’s destinations. The pilot program would be offered in an area with many jobs. Blumenberg, director of the Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies at UCLA Luskin, noted that most jobs are not located in the central city. “That, no matter what, is going to pose a challenge for fixed-route public transit,” she said.


 

Loukaitou-Sideris Provides Insight on Rideshare Safety for Women

Urban Planning Professor Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris shed light on women’s interactions with transportation systems in a Rewire article explaining female riders’ frustrations with rideshare services. Loukaitou-Sideris said sexual harassment is incredibly common in transportation settings around the world. Incidents of sexual harassment and uncomfortable behavior with rideshare drivers have prompted requests for increased safety measures, especially for women. While nearly 45% of female rideshare users have expressed their preference for a female driver, only 20-30% of Lyft and Uber drivers are female, and neither rideshare service allows female riders to request a female driver. Loukaitou-Sideris’ research on women-only public transportation in other countries, such as women-only train cars, found that women worried such an arrangement would “perpetuate discrimination” by taking away the option to sit in other cars of the train. Many women express their desire to be able to safely use the same service as men, instead of needing a women-only solution.


ITS Researcher Authors L.A. Times Op-Ed on Ridership

Anne E. Brown, MURP ’14 Ph.D. ’18, a researcher at the Institute of Transportation Studies (ITS) at UCLA Luskin, authored a Los Angeles Times op-ed about L.A.’s taxi industry and discrimination against black riders. Comparing taxi service in Los Angeles with ridehail services such as Uber and Lyft, Brown writes, “when it comes to timeliness, technology, and – most troublingly – racial discrimination, taxis lag significantly behind their flashy new competitors.” Brown’s findings, published in her doctoral dissertation, come from her groundbreaking equity audit of ridehail and taxi services in the city that compared wait times and trip cancellation rates by race and ethnicity.


 

Jacoby Addresses Japanese Leaders on Sharing Economy

UCLA Luskin’s Sanford M. Jacoby, distinguished research professor of public policy, management and history, spoke recently to leaders of the Japan Federation of Transport Workers Unions.   The federation is a branch of RENGO (Japan’s equivalent of the AFL-CIO) and currently has about 50,000 members — most of whom belong to enterprise unions affiliated with individual companies — said Jacoby, describing the Japanese system. Also attending the Nov. 20, 2017 meeting were several members of the Japanese Diet’s House of Councillors, the equivalent of the U.S. Senate, from the Democratic Party of Japan (Minshintō). Jacoby, an economist by training, spoke about the positive and negative aspects of a sharing economy. The primary focus of the talk was about companies such as Airbnb and Uber, which remain controversial in Japan and in European countries, explained Jacoby, who has studied Uber’s delayed entry into the Japanese market. Although Airbnb was recently legalized there in anticipation of the 2020 Olympics, Uber presents a different problem. Under current Japanese national transportation laws, a service such as Uber is unlawful. “There are contending forces to both legalize it and to prevent its entry into Japan,” said Jacoby, who studies employers, labor market institutions and international political economy. Rather than competing head-on with taxi companies, Uber has begun partnering with them. Jacoby said the situation remains uncertain, but this type of collaboration may be Uber’s future in Japan. — Stan Paul