In my last blog entry Will cycling be the new normal I’m saying that the cities are attractive because of the number of possibilities they offer to us.

It’s the shop around each corner. Cosy bars, cafes and restaurant. Opportunities to meet new people, learn and work. Being able to do almost everything whenever something has just crossed our minds.

And of course, being able to get there however you prefer to. Taking a walk, short ride with your own bike or a car, public transport or the plenty of shared-mobility services.

As a mobility enthusiast, I’m every time amazed once I’m swiping for a car from a car-sharing system. Taking a ride right in front of friends house to grab dinner and beer using ride-hailing once the night is deep enough. The peak of transit is just behind the doors.

(Of course, it would be a lot better to use public transport, but unfortunately, the area where my friend lives is built around the cars, only. “Ode to suburbs!”)

I’m every time impressed how well is the city covered by the ride-hailing services once it’s after midnight. The driver is ready to pick you up within just a few minutes enabling us, urban folks, to hit the city whenever and for how long we want knowing there still will be someone ready to pick us up and take us home.

Someone who will “take care” while everyone is having fun.

Unsurprisingly, the introduction of ride-hailing has reduced drunk driving. However, a team of economists in a recent study uncover another relationship between drinking and ride-hailing. In particular, the rising consumption of alcohol.


Rising consumption of alcohol at the locations where the ride-hailing services are available and also there, where the service of public transport is insufficient.

Photo by Alexander Popov, Unsplash
Photo by Alexander Popov, Unsplash

Those are the main results from the study Do Ridesharing Services Increase Alcohol Consumption? made by Jacob Burgdorf and Conor Lennon of the University of Louisville and Keith Teltser of Georgia State University.

If people have to drive themselves, they drink a less, or they have a driver in the group which both reduces overall drinking levels in the given area. The situation is changed once none of the people has to be the driver. Like in a case when Uber is waiting down on the street. The connection between drinking behaviour and ride-hailing services thus leads to a local increase in both the frequency and quantity of alcohol consumption and in other risky behaviours.

Knowing that, is this the way how digital revolution and rise of the sharing economy should support sustainable development? And what is the real net social impact of ridesharing?

Cities are everything, but sustainable.