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2020 Rideshare Data Report

In 2020, rideshare companies provided about 35 million rides that started in Massachusetts, which is 62% less than in 2019. Here, you can learn more about the rideshare industry in Massachusetts.

Table of Contents

Overview

In accordance with Massachusetts law, the Transportation Network Company (TNC) Division of the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) publishes information on a yearly basis regarding rideshare trips that occurred within the Commonwealth.  This report summarizes rideshare usage in Massachusetts in 2020.

In 2020, rideshare companies – also called Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) – provided approximately 35 million rides in Massachusetts.  Historically, TNCs provided 91.1 million rides in 2019, 81.3 million rides in 2018, and 64.8 million rides in 2017.  You can also explore the data behind this 2020 report and see prior years’ reports.

Impact of COVID-19 on Massachusetts Rideshare

In 2020, there were about 62% fewer TNC rides1 that started in Massachusetts than in 2019.  This decrease happened across nearly the entire state, with the biggest impacts seen in the Greater Boston area, the Cape and Islands, and smaller towns in western Massachusetts.  

The largest decrease in number of rides happened in Boston, where 15.9 million rides started in 2020.  This represents a 65% decrease or nearly 30 million fewer rides when compared to 2019.  A similar impact can be seen on the Cape and Islands.  Barnstable saw around 100,000 fewer rides in 2020 and Nantucket saw around 260,000 fewer rides in 2020 compared to 2019.  Likewise, in the Outer Cape, Provincetown’s rides decreased from around 55,000 to fewer than 7,000 from 2019 to 2020.

Some towns in western Massachusetts, where a smaller volume of rides started between 2017 and 2019, saw no rides begin in 2020.  Some towns saw no year over year growth or reduction in rides.

Outside of the Greater Boston area rides also decreased, but not at such a high rate.  In Fall River, for example, rides fell 23% compared to 2019.  The impact was lower in neighboring Westport, where rides were down just 18% in 2020 compared to 2019.  Moving north of Boston, rides fell 34% in Tewksbury compared to 2019 and 36% in Methuen compared to 2019.  The same is true in central Massachusetts - in Barre and Templeton, for example, rides fell approximately 34% compared to 2019 in each town.

Although rides fell considerably in 2020 across the Commonwealth, these numbers still demonstrate the vital role that this industry fills in providing residents and visitors with access to transportation. 

Using the map below, you can explore the changing rideshare landscape in Massachusetts in 2020.  Type a city or town name into the search bar to see data on rideshare changes from 2019 to 2020 in that community.  You can also click or tap locations on the map to explore changes across the Commonwealth.

You can use the map below to explore ride numbers from 2017 through 2020 by typing a city or town name into the search bar and clicking or tapping locations on the map.  You can also filter the map by ride years for a visual summary of rideshare usage over time.

TNC Travel Patterns across Massachusetts

Despite a steep decrease in rides through the pandemic, nearly every single city and town in Massachusetts saw some level of use of rideshare services during 2020.  Usage patterns continue to vary by region.  On a rides per-person basis2, services fell in Cambridge from 74.9 in 2019 to just 21.8 in 2020.  In Nantucket, rides per person fell from 36 in 2019 to just 10 in 2020.  And in Amherst, rides per person fell from 9.1 in 2019 to just 2.4 in 2020.

You can use the map below to explore 2020 TNC rides on a per-person basis by clicking or tapping locations on the map or by using the search bar to type a city or town you're interested in.  You can also use the filter menu to switch between ride start locations and ride end locations.

Some metrics remain unchanged even with the impact of the pandemic.  For example, approximately 73% of the rides that started in Boston also ended in Boston, which is the exact same percentage as in 2019 despite a far greater number of trips that year.

To explore the data yourself, type a city or town into the search bar below to see the number of rides that started and ended in that city or town, along with the number and percentage of "local rides" – rides that started and ended in the same city or town.  You can tap or click the column headings to sort the table by any of these values.

Are you curious about how many TNC rides started where you live and went to another city or town?  The map below allows you to explore where TNC rides went from place to place in the Commonwealth in 2020.  Use the dropdown menu below to select a destination city or town or 'Out of State' (at the bottom of the list) to see all the TNC rides that started in Massachusetts but ended out of state.  Then type a start location in the search box, like Boston or Worcester or Provincetown.  Or you can click or tap locations on the map to see various travel patterns.

Speed and Length of Rides

Overall, in 2020, rides traveled longer distances, lasted longer, and moved faster compared to rides in 2019.  The average ride in Massachusetts lasted 15.5 minutes and traveled 5.3 miles at 20.5 miles per hour (MPH)3.

Rides in Central and Western Massachusetts tended to travel long distances, last longer, and move faster than in Eastern Massachusetts, the same as in prior years.  Bernardston has the longest average ride time of 82 minutes, followed by Erving and Blandford with average ride times of just under one hour.  Erving had the longest average distance traveled by rideshare at 54 miles.  The shortest average ride distances were primarily on the Cape and Islands (Nantucket's average was 3 miles) and in the Greater Boston area (Chelsea's average was 4.3 miles).

Municipalities that averaged speeds of more than 40 MPH were mostly located in Central and Western Massachusetts.  The slowest travel speeds were in densely populated cities and towns, but generally speeds were up compared to 2019.  Brookline, for example, had the slowest average ride speed at 15.5 MPH in 2020 but this is about 2 MPH faster than the average ride speed in 2019.  Watertown saw the average ride speed increase from 11.2 MPH in 2019 to 19.5 MPH in 2020.  Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville all had average ride speeds below 19 MPH in 2020.  Boston's average ride speed was roughly the same as in 2019 but Cambridge and Somerville saw increases from 12.7 to 17.2 MPH and 13.1 to 18.1 MPH, respectively.

Using the map below, you can explore average ride distance, time, and speed for rides in 2020 by searching for a city or town and clicking or tapping locations on the map.  You can also switch between average speed, miles, and minutes using the filter menu.

Per-Ride Assessment

For calendar year 2020, the Commonwealth collected approximately $7 million from a $0.20 per-ride assessment on each rideshare trip that started in Massachusetts.  Cities and towns receive half of this amount based on the number of rides that started in their communities, while the other half is distributed to MassDevelopment and the Commonwealth's Transportation Fund.  The Commonwealth has so far collected more than $50 million from rideshare companies from the per-ride assessment of over 270 million rides.

Year Total Rides Per-Ride Assessment Total
2020 35 million $7 million
2019 91.1 million $18.2 million
2018 81.3 million $16 million
2017 64.8 million $12.9 million

 

2020 Municipal Distribution

Based on last year’s ride data, municipalities will receive the following funds:

2019 Municipal Project Reports

In 2020, municipalities were required to report on their use of the 2019 fund distributions.  Below are some highlighted municipal projects made possible by 2019 per-ride assessment funds.  

A complete listing of municipal projects and corresponding per-ride assessment funds can be found here.

1 This number reflects only passenger rides provided by a permitted TNC that originated within the borders of Massachusetts as reported to the TNC Division.  Rides that started out of state and ended in Massachusetts are not counted.  Food delivery and other services offered by app-based companies in Massachusetts are also not counted.

Population data to determine per person rates are from the 2010 American Community Survey (ACS) published by the U.S. Census Bureau.

3 Averages were calculated by weighting TNC-reported trip length and distance by ride counts.

Date published: June 14, 2021
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