It's terrifying to share the road with thousands of inexperienced drivers trying to get the high score in a bonus stage. Nobody should feel safe. Despite witnessing several accidents each shift, I'm often surprised there aren't more. And although I try to steer clear of those areas with the highest potential for disaster, even the most remote corners of The City aren't immune to mishap. [...]
It's at times like these that I like to play game called "Drunk Driver or Uber/Lyft Driver?" Which isn't very challenging since the answer is almost always the same. After all, why would anyone drive drunk now that you can get the same sense of excitement and reckless adventure with someone who can, conceivably, pass a breathalyzer test?
Besides the ones going the wrong way down one-ways, I regularly encounter drivers who mistake normal streets for one-ways, countless drivers at night without their headlights on, as well as plenty of others blinding me with their high beams. Then there are the speed demons and the slow pokes, the aggressive mergers and out-of-towners taking curves hesitantly, while hot-doggers tailgate anyone with a shred of self-preservation. Nobody seems to understand how to get up a hill, or grasp the basic concept of timed lights. And who can forget the drivers who stop wherever they please, block traffic with impunity and double-park as if you're the asshole for expecting to travel down the street free of obstructions.
San Francisco traffic is its own beast. It's certainly not for the faint of heart. Yet, every day, people from across the state stream into The City to work as taxi drivers, an occupation that once required a license, which one could only acquire through a week of intensive training, followed by an exam, an FBI background check and a drug test. Now, all you need is a pulse and a smart phone.
This isn't the first study to make such findings, but it is one of the broadest, helping to explain why transit ridership has declined in almost every U.S. city over recent years. These declines could not be explained by service reductions or by maintenance issues.
Increased service could counter the trend, but it would not be enough to make up for the damage. Graehler and his co-authors estimated that San Francisco would have to increase bus service by 25 percent to offset the effects of Uber and Lyft in depressing ridership. [...]
"What appears to happen is that travelers divert from transit to [taxis], increasing congestion for everyone, including the buses."