The popularity, at least in print if not in reality, of Uber and Lyft services is well documented in the Washington, D.C. region. But who uses these services and how popular are they really? A survey conducted in May by WBA Research out of
Crofton, Maryland attempted to quantify this question. The results of the survey are quite interesting and demonstrate the inroads that transportation apps and the on-demand services have made in our region and the growing influence that these have in our
everyday decision-making as it pertains to getting from point A to B.
WBA Research’s survey found that among residents of the Washington, DC region, familiarity with app-based transportation companies (otherwise known as transportation network companies, or TNCs) Uber and Lyft is driven primarily by the 18-34 year old age segment (88% familiar with Uber, 69% familiar with Lyft).
Regardless of whether their travel is inside or outside the Washington, DC area, younger residents are fueling the rise of app-based transportation.
The survey also found that about one in five area residents have used an app-based transportation company to get to or from Metrobus, Metrorail or other public transit (18%) or to Reagan National, Dulles or BWI Marshall Airports (20%).
District of Columbia residents are significantly more likely than their suburban counterparts to have taken any trips using an app-based transportation company in the past month (57% vs. 23%-24%). They also average more trips per month than suburban riders (7.7 DC vs. 4.0-4.5 MD/VA/WV). DC residents who have taken trips also average almost eight one-way trips per month, compared to between four and five among the area’s suburban riders.
Among 18-34 year old residents of the Washington, DC area, app-based transportation ridership approaches levels similar to that of public transportation ridership. In fact, there is significant overlap in ridership between the two modes.
Those who have used app-based transportation in the past three months most often said their last such trip was for leisure purposes (57%), while almost one-fourth took their last trip to or from work, school, or for some other business related purpose.
Taxi is most often the back up when app-based transportation is not available (44%). One-fifth, however, drive themselves (22%) or turn to public transportation (21%). Those who have used app-based transportation in the past three months most often said they would have taken a taxi if an app-based transportation company had not been available for their last trip.
More than one-half (53%) of those who have used Uber or Lyft say they have encountered Surge/Prime Time pricing and chose to accept the higher fare and take the trip anyway, while 12% opted out of the higher fare. More than one-half of those who have used Uber or Lyft say they have encountered Surge or Prime Time pricing and chose to take the trip anyway accepting the higher fare.