The Boston City Council wants to look into Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft and their impact on the city.
Councilor Ed Flynn recently requested a public hearing on TNCs in Boston and how to better regulate them.
“I think we need to have a robust conversation on traffic, air quality, safety,” said Flynn in regards to Uber and Lyft.
According to Flynn, there is an average of over 115,000 trips per day in the city and recent data from the Department of Public Utilities show that there was a 25 percent increase in total rides from 2017 to 2018.
Flynn said some of the biggest issues with these ride sharing apps is that they are speeding through neighborhoods they don’t know and there is also a lack of designated pickup areas, which causes double and triple parking throughout the city.
Flynn noted that there was severe surge pricing when the Red Line shut down a few weeks ago.
“I think they were exploiting residents by charging several hundred dollars for picking someone up from Dorchester going to downtown,” he said.
Councilor Matt O’Malley agreed with Flynn and said there was an opportunity for the city to work with Uber and Lyft more effortlessly.
“There is an opportunity at the state level to unlock tens of millions of dollars that can go back into the city of Boston to make sure we can support our roads, public transportation and infrastructure,” he said.
Some cities in the country have started regulating TNCs by limiting the cap number of drivers in one city, negotiating minimum wage for drivers as well creating pickup areas in various places in cities to reduce congestion.
Councilor Lydia Edwards said the North End deals with a lot of congestion due to Uber and Lyft. She suggested the city do a neighborhood by neighborhood planning for pickup and drop off areas. She suggested for Hanover Street one pickup area at one end of the street and a drop off area at the other end of the street.
“People will be walking there instead of having triple parking and TNCs clogging our streets,” she said.
Currently there’s a pilot program running in the Fenway neighborhood for TNC pick-up and drop-off zones. In a recent poll, NorthEndWaterfront.com readers were divided on whether this would work in the North End.
A hearing will be scheduled in the near future.