If New Yorkers who normally took taxis alone would share their cab with a stranger, the city could cut the size of its taxi fleet by up to 40 percent, according to a new study.
The study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and reported by the New York Times, found that if passengers rode together it would unclog busy streets, conserve fuel and decrease air pollution in the city without drastically increasing the length of their trips.
“The predicted economic and environmental savings are considerable,” said Steven Strogatz, a Cornell mathematician who authored the study.
The researchers made their findings after parsing through a database compiled by a city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission database of taxi pickups and drop-offs in 2011, the Times reports.
They then combined trips that were headed in the same direction at around the same time, finding that the number of taxis could be cut by 40 percent without greatly affecting arrival time.
Some New Yorkers told the Times they were skeptical of the idea. Former cabbie Gene Saloman, who wrote “Confessions of a New York City Taxi Driver,” said a shared taxi system wouldn’t work because passengers are willing to pay extra to have a private ride.
“New Yorkers do not like to share cabs,” he told the Times.