We’re a city that often complains about our lack of late-night public transportation. Now, there’s data that lends insight as to how much we want (and need) it.
Hailo, a cab-calling smartphone app, released new data that shows a spike in times when Boston users hail cabs. Specifically, Boston customers use Hailo to call a taxi up to three times more between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays than any other days of the week.
Comparatively, Boston’s late-night week spike is more than any other of Hailo’s operating cities, as evidenced by this graphic below.
Upon analyzing the data, Hailo realized that Boston’s weekend use is congruent to when the MBTA shuts down, explains Vanessa Kafka, general manager of Hailo Boston. Hailo dubbed this time period – when Boston’s college students and young professionals are still out but have limited options to get home – the “gap hour.”
Kafka says Hailo doesn’t view themselves as competition to the MBTA, but rather as a complement to the entire transportation infrastructure in Boston. Hailo’s use-cases are different than those of the MBTA, but Hailo’s data on late-night cabs points to a problem that affects all those in the transportation industry, she adds.
Still, Hailo doesn’t necessarily have the solution to the gap hour (although the app helps), so instead, the company wants people to simply talk about the issue.
“Right now we’re really focused on encouraging the discussion,” says Kafka.
To do so, they’ve launched a social media contest in which people can tweet using #WhyIMindtheGap and share their stories of how difficult it is to get a ride home during those times. A winner will receive Hailo credit to help ease their late-night woes.
“We are very much committed to improving transportation in Boston,” concludes Kafka.