Ride-hailing apps have changed how people travel in several parts of the world. Indeed for many city dwellers, it’s hard to imagine getting around without the freedom of hailing a cab with a few clicks on a smartphone. But this convenience has come at a cost.
The massive growth of ride-hailing apps is worsening traffic congestion in nine of America’s biggest cities, according to a 2018 study (pdf) by New York-based Schaller Consulting. In a country like India—where the roads are often narrow and the number of commuters is growing at an explosive pace—things can be worse.
“Cabs aren’t a long term solution for a country like India, not only because of affordability but also from an economics and environment point of view,” Yugal Joshi, vice-president of Texas-based consulting firm Everest Group, told Quartz. Public transit options, like buses, are not much better because they add to congestion.