We received more than 1,000 responses to our Uber survey. Here are the results.
Last week we put out a survey to gauge public opinion on a proposed ordinance that would allow ride-sharing services, notably Uber, to begin operating in Rochester. To no surprise, there was heavy interest in the subject — especially from young adults. Of the 1,033 unique responses (duplicate entries from the same IP addresses were not included in our final results), 9 of 10 surveyed said they support the council adopting the new regulations.
Here are some other key takeaways from the final report:
- Eighty-eight percent of those surveyed said they would use TNCs for getting a sober ride home. Getting to and from the airport, at 74 percent, was another top choice. Additionally, about a quarter of respondents said they would use the service getting to and from work.
- The majority of respondents said they would use TNCs "once or twice a month." Just 8 percent said they would "never" use the service.
- There was especially strong interest in the subject from millennials — 59 percent of respondents were 18-34. Millennials, compared to the general public, indicated they are about 20 percent more likely to use ride-sharing either "every day," "once per week," or "multiple times per week."
- The existing taxi services in the city fared poorly on the survey. Of the 800-plus who said they have used cabs in the past, the average rating was 2.7 out of 5 stars. In comparison, TNCs scored a 4.7. In written comments, respondents cited "lower costs" and "convenience" as the advantages of ride-sharing. "TNCs are a part of any modern city and it is surprising that Rochester, home of the World Famous Mayo Clinic, does not have this service," one wrote. Another said, "Rochester wants to be a big city so it needs to start offering the services of a big city."
- "Visitors have an expectation for this type of service" was another popular sentiment in the survey comments. About 2.75 million people visit Rochester annually.
- The vast majority of feedback was in support of TNCs. However, this response articulates some of the most common concerns: "Uber and Lyft do not provide employment. They undermine the goal of DMC to provide good, living-wage jobs with benefits. They will damage existing transportation entities. Uber and Lyft drivers will often have inadequate insurance, which makes them a danger to others on the roads. Uber and Lyft are large, powerful corporations which seem currently to be competing — but we know how that goes. Give local companies a chance to provide more flexible, efficient transportation options."
- There's no question those most hungry for change were those most motivated to fill out this survey. In fact, 85 percent of respondents purported to have used ride-sharing services in the past.
The city council will meet with a lobbyist for Uber at its Committee of the Whole meeting Monday afternoon. Council members will have the opportunity to ask the Uber representative any last questions before drafting a final ordinance.
Prior to any vote, there will be a hearing, in which members of the public are invited to voice support or concerns about the proposed ordinance. The evening meeting begins at 7 p.m. (The topic is F.13 on the agenda, so it's hard to say precisely when the topic will come up. Follow Twitter for updates.)
If approved, the council would still need to give the ordinance a second reading at a later meeting. However, in this weekend's edition of KSMQ's "R-Town," City Clerk Aaron Reeves suggested the council may waive the second reading on the TNC ordinance. Doing so would expedite the process quite a bit.
"... My expectation is that the council will vote on an ordinance [Monday] night," said Reeves (full interview here). "Generally, an ordinance requires two readings, so it's about a two month process. I anticipate they might wave the second reading and adopt — I don't know for sure, but it's been discussed."
Earlier this week, one of Rochester’s two main cab companies voiced its concerns about the existing taxicab ordinance. An investor with Yellow Cab acknowledged the tide was shifting in favor of letting TNCs come to town. In response, he asked the council to consider easing regulations on taxi companies to make sure his business could continue to compete in the local market.
The tech giant Uber is valued at over $60 billion and operates in more than 500 cities across the world. It uses an app to connect consumers with drivers, who act as independent contractors. The TNC industry is largely self-regulated.
Here's the link to a brief overview of the final report.
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(Cover graphic: Uber)