The AP bans the term "ride-sharing" for Uber & Lyft
Companies like Uber and Lyft have often referred to their services as "ride-sharing." But that's not an accurate term. The Associated Press now agrees, and has banned the word for Uber-like services in its widely-used style guide. The better term, AP says, is "ride-hailing."
In July, I criticized the trend of calling these and other services "sharing" and called on Greater Greater Washington readers to come up with a better term.
When a number of people collectively buy something so all can use it, that may be sharing. When a company brokers transactions between people buying a good (in this case, rides) and people who can sell that good, that's not sharing.
As Charlie Warzel explained in BuzzFeed, "Though Uber has recently introduced a carpooling service, the vast majority of services that Uber and Lyft and others provide mimics a traditional taxi or driver service. You don't get in an Uber to share a ride with another paying passenger."
There are already ride systems and services that are much more properly "sharing." Virginia has long had the practice of "slugging," where drivers pick up other passengers at designated lots in order to use the carpool lanes. Other people are creating companies that help people actually share rides.
Jenny O'Brien is a community manager for Carma, a smartphone app that connects drivers and riders with similar commutes for carpooling. She says, "When I tell a potential user about Carma, as soon as I say 'app' and 'ridesharing' they say, 'Oh, like Uber!' Then I have to explain that Uber is more like a taxi. It's frustrating that the public lumps us together because of the misuse of the term 'ridesharing.'"
Many writers and publications follow the AP Stylebook. It is fortunate that AP has agreed with us and others to more accurately describe this new technology and services.
- We know where most of DC's population lives. Does Metro run through those places?
- Term limits are a terrible idea for Montgomery County
- WMATA is considering scrapping the Metroway BRT
- Metro is proposing service cuts, again. Will riders ever see the benefits?
- Our endorsements for ANC in Ward 2
- Our endorsements for ANC in Ward 6
- Here's why it'd be wrong to shut down Metro east of the Anacostia River