View profile

✊🏙 Uber & Lyft subscriptions 📱 Wall Street opposes California rent control 💰 & much more!

Hey urbanists, The ride-hailing giants are starting to offer subscriptions to try to further lock dow
November 4 · Issue #58 · View online
Radical Urbanist
Hey urbanists,
The ride-hailing giants are starting to offer subscriptions to try to further lock down their customers, but will they also use them to try to pull more riders away from transit? There’s also an important ballot initiative in California that Wall Street firms are pouring record funds into opposing. The US midterms are Tuesday — a story I’m sure a lot of us will be watching.
Have a great Sunday!

Uber & Lyft are offering subscriptions
Streetsblog had a great piece this week on the advertising being done by Uber and Lyft to try to get riders off of public transit and into their ride-hailing cars — shifting trips to a less efficient mode when they’ve already been shown to increase congestion.
The companies have also launched subscriptions over the past month to try to tie riders into their service, and the big question is whether it will entice more people to give up their cars or to give up other (more efficient) forms of transportation.
Lyft’s $299 monthly subscription for 30 rides under $15, with any additional rides getting a 5% discount, is quite a big investment and seems like it will get relatively little buy-in except from power users. However, Uber is framing its $15 monthly subscription like Amazon Prime; it allows users to evade surge pricing, which could result in a discount of up to 15%. This is yet another example of how Uber is seeking to replicate Amazon’s dominance.
Real estate firms against the public good
Americans go to the polls on Tuesday in the midterm elections, and while much of the media coverage is focusing on the federal races for Congress and Senate, there’s an important ballot measure in California that urbanists should be paying attention to.
Proposition 10 would allow cities to implement rent control — currently illegal under state law — but Wall Street firms that bought up a ton of real estate in the aftermath of the financial crash are spending millions to oppose it. As Meagan Day describes it for Jacobin, focusing on Blackstone:
A multibillion-dollar Wall Street private-equity corporation took advantage of the foreclosure crisis to become the largest single-family home landlord in California, contributing to rising rents all across the state, and is now using not only working people’s hard-earned rent money but also taxpayer subsidies and public employees’ pensions to fund a massive campaign against a ballot measure that would give cities the right to control the spiral of rents in the state.
Meanwhile, in London, despite being the center of the United Kingdom’s affordable-housing crisis, much of the new housing is still built for the wealthy and essentially designed to be left empty because they’re investment properties, not homes. The private housing market has failed and it’s time for major policy change.
Other great reads
💵 Congestion pricing in NYC could reduce weekly bus commute times by up to two hours
🚲 GM is getting into the e-bike market with two new models
🛴 Electric car baron Elon Musk, who previously disparaged public transit, says the e-scooterlacks dignity.” Whatever, man.
🇲🇦 Morocco will soon open Africa’s first high-speed train, but its regular train system needs serious work
🚗 WHO report that 93% of people under 15 years old are breathing toxic air leads mayors to call for end of fossil fuel cars
🚌 “[M]icrotransit is about as inefficient as dial-a-ride always was, for reasons that no technology will change.” — Jarrett Walker
🇪🇺 More European cities are making transit free. With the growing threat of climate change growing and need to radically transform our transportation systems, should we make transit free to more swiftly shift people out of cars?
😔 Another reason to address social isolation: it costs the US an additional $7 billion in health spending
🇯🇵 Japanese rail stations make big money off real estate. Should US stations be doing the same? Not in the piece, but could benefits of transit investment be recovered through a land value tax?
“If dystopia helps to scare us into working harder [to create a sustainable civilization], which maybe it does, then fine: dystopia. But always in service to the main project, which is utopia.” — science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson
✊️❤️ Thanks for reading. You can follow me on TwitterMedium, or Instagram for even more!
Did you enjoy this issue?
If you don't want these updates anymore, please unsubscribe here.
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Powered by Revue