On Tuesday, Uber strategist and former Obama advisor David Plouffe told the audience at a tech event in D.C. that the ride-sharing company “can quite literally help transport people out of poverty, offering people affordable rides whenever, wherever they need one.” Uber’s D.C. office today released data that may support Plouffe’s claim, showing that the number of trips originating in Wards 7 and 8 has increased seven times compared to this time last year. Although the absolute number of trips wasn’t disclosed by the company, Uber says it’s seen “a much higher rate of trip growth” there relative to the rest of the District, particularly with the advents of UberX and UberPOOL.
The average wait time for a pick-up in these wards, which are primarily located east of the Anacostia River, has dropped from 12 minutes in 2014 to five minutes today, according to Uber. In 2012, riders waited an average of about 16 minutes after hailing a car through the ride-sharing app; since then, it’s continued to drop.
That negative slope almost certainly has to do with more drivers joining Uber and realizing there’s a market for rides in Wards 7 and 8, where getting around by public transit and by cab have historically presented challenges. Uber’s data today indicates that a huge portion of its D.C. drivers live in Wards 7 and 8, as well as in Wards 4 and 5.
Uber spokesperson Taylor Bennett says by email that Uber drivers living in Wards 7 and 8 “have brought in over $4 million in gross fares, and we expect that number to grow to nearly $5.5 million in 2016.”
Update: An earlier version of this story used Uber’s language reporting a 700-percent increase; in fact, a sevenfold increase in ridership is a 600-percent increase. Uber declined to provide raw numbers for this story.
Graphs courtesy of Uber