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Ridesharing to the Rescue: Usage and Welfare Impact of BlaBlaCar during the 2018 French Railway Strike

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Document pages: 74 pages

Abstract: This work estimates the impact of the 2018 French national railway strike (April to June) on the inter-city ridesharing usage and user welfare. We collected daily trip-level data from the API of BlaBlaCar, the largest inter-city ridesharing platform in Europe, and show that on an average strike day, demand increased by 29 while supply increased by 7 during the strike period. We conduct a calibration exercise to estimate the consumer surplus of each route per day, and then use propensity score matching to extend our estimates to additional routes to measure the overall impact in France. On an average non-strike day, BlaBlaCar generated roughly 145,000 € of consumer surplus, while on an average strike day, it generated 179,000 €, an increase of 34,000 €. Our result shows that inter-city ridesharing contributes to the social welfare, especially during a major disruption in the transport system, and serves as a flexible substitute for the railway service. We suggest that policy-makers integrate ridesharing into the design and management of the transportation network.

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