The group Move LA was created five years ago to advocate for sales-tax transportation funding and the passage of Measure R in Los Angeles County. On a recent visit to Atlanta, Gloria Ohland, the group’s communication director, used both Uber and the heavy rail system, MARTA. Her experience there, she says, exemplifies her belief that having choices is good. She says she favors a mass transit system that is “species rich.”

“When we share cars in a way that is as convenient as this, using smartphones and apps and GPS to get us where we need to go when we need to get there, not only is it a smart use of resources, it also becomes more feasible and attractive to not own a car,” Ohland points out. “And any and all incentives to reduce car ownership are good!”

But Move LA’s Executive Director, Denny Zane, questions whether these ride-sharing companies are going to “skim off” choice, young, affluent riders — leaving cab companies with older customers, and possibly starving public transit’s fan base, which is presently growing.

He argues that private taxi businesses achieve some public environmental benefits. Franchises minimize idling by taxicabs, promote good maintenance for cabs, and require drivers to be trained and bonded, according to Zane. “It’s about safety, reliability and avoiding excess,” he says. “So if we do away with that business model, we’d better be sure that those public objectives will otherwise be met.”

Read the whole story on KPCC's blog.

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