For some of us, it\u2019s hard to imagine life before Uber and Lyft, the ride-hailing apps that represent the best and worst that Silicon Valley has to offer the world. For all of the ills of ride-hailing apps such as the poor treatment of drivers, sexist work culture and safety for passengers, these services have managed to dominate the taxi industry and are now taking on public transit services. \n\nIt makes sense. Ride-hailing apps allow passengers to operate on their own schedule, do away with the forced socialization of public transit and will pick you up and drop you off wherever. Since their inception in 2009, consumers have quickly adopted the mobile technology -- researchers at UC Davis claim the "adoption of ride-hailing is estimated to have grown to more than 250 million users globally within their first five years of existence."\n\n"I use Uber five or six times a week," Ian Toste, bar manager of Lone Star Taco Bar in Cambridge, MA said. "If the public transit were more efficiently timed I would gladly consider that instead, but because of [my] varying hours of work the options just aren\u2019t available to me."\n\nToste isn\u2019t alone in his assessment of public transit. It\u2019s often been a long-running joke among urban dwellers to bemoan the state of their public transit, but for many, this hides a sobering reality.\n\n"The routing of Boston\u2019s public transit system is a huge bummer," photographer Chrissy Bulakites said. "I waste a lot of time waiting for buses and trains that never come, and even if everything is running smoothly it can still take me an hour to [travel less than a few miles]."\n\nAs cities like Seattle, San Francisco and Boston experience rapid urban growth, new neighborhoods have emerged as residential and commercial hubs and public transportation has struggled to adjust. This is reflected in the revenue streams for public transportation; according to the UC Davis study, public transit loses 6% of its consumer base on average to ride-hailing apps costing municipalities millions in lost revenue. Adding to this problem are the number of cars that are being added to city streets particularly during rush hour traffic. \n\nAccording to Yonah Freemark, author of\u00a0The Transport Politic, "ride-hailing services have increased traffic, there are a lot of drivers driving in circles waiting for [passengers] in already congested areas during peak hours."\n\nFor all of the benefits, ride-hailing has created a massive headache for municipalities. Freemark claims that better urban planning and heavy investment in public transportation is one way to discourage the use of ride-hailing apps and keep more cars off the road. \n\n"Seattle is a great example of [what to do]. What they have done is first invested in a large expansion of their transportation system -- not only terms of a light rail, but creating new bus lines and providing frequent service on those routes," Freemark said. "It\u2019s not like they banned ride-hailing in Seattle, they still have it. The question is just how you interact with these different apps as a city."\n\nMeanwhile, Uber has worked to fill the void by creating services like Express POOL, which has passengers walk to optimal locations to share rides with others on a similar route. Some cities like Summit, NJ have even offered Uber tax subsidies to provide cheaper fares within the city. Freemark says this will only exacerbate the problem. \n\n"Uber providing a competing service to bus routes is very threatening since they can choose to only operate on the most popular routes with little incentive to compete in less popular areas while a public transit system has to serve all routes while losing money on the popular ones."\n\nRide-hailing apps are a double-edged sword. Their convenience comes at a cost not only for cities but for consumers as well. \n\n"In my first four months [at my new job] I spent a little over $1,000 on Uber. This is essentially a car payment," Toste said. "I\u2019m fed up with depending on someone else getting me where I need to go. Due to how much I\u2019m spending, I can clearly afford a car and I think I would be happier relying on myself."\n\nEach month, ride-hailing apps become more ingrained in consumer behavior, and companies like Uber and Lyft are becoming more adept at keeping their customers coming back. Both services offer monthly prorated passes akin to metro passes encouraging users to substitute ride-hailing for their daily commute into work. This hurts cities both financially and environmentally as fewer commuters use public transportation and more cars congest urban roads.\u00a0\n\nRide-hailing taking over as the primary form of transit in major cities also places consumers squarely in the hands of profit-seeking corporations who can manipulate their monopoly on the market to gouge consumers. \n\nThe consensus appears to be that cities will need to begin overhauling their transit systems to account for population changes and efficiency. Until then, consumers will continue to choose the reliability of ride-hailing until their public transportation better serves them. \n\n"I would absolutely love if the public transit were more efficient and didn\u2019t have to rely on Uber so much," Bulakites said. "I just wish [public transportation] made a schedule and stuck to it."\n\nMore:\u00a0The Ride-Hailing Business Is Now Way Bigger Than Uber and Lyft\n\n\n\nFollow us:\u00a0Telegram\u00a0|\u00a0Twitter\u00a0|\u00a0Newsletter\n\n\n\nDisclaimer: The views and\u00a0opinions expressed\u00a0in this article are those of the author(s) and\u00a0do not necessarily\u00a0reflect\u00a0the official position or opinions of SludgeFeed.