Reporting on pedestrian life in the D.C. area

Uber quantifies the one-night stands of its riders

March 30, 2012 - 02:10 PM
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(Photo: Uber)

Forget the Walk of Shame. If you take luxury car service Uber, the company prefers the name "Ride of Glory." Uber is D.C.'s pricier, legally controversial, and tech-friendly alternative to taxicabbing and has now operated in the city for about four months or so. Uber has distinguished itself with some oddball yet beloved PR moves and its staffers recently used math to quantify how many of its passengers use the $15-minimum car service to facilitate their casual hook ups.

Bradley Voytek parsed the data of six Uber cities and defines a "ride of glory" as follows:

A RoGer was defined as anyone who took a ride between 10pm and 4am on a Friday or Saturday night, and then took a second ride from within 1/10th of a mile of the previous nights’ drop-off point 4-6 hours later (enough for a quick night’s sleep). (Note that the cool kids tell me that this time window may not be the best, but small changes don’t change the overall pattern.)

All right.

In his write-up of the analyses, Voytek's charts suggest that these trips comprise a rather small fraction of the overall Uber trips. Boston is the top city for these trysts, which amount to about 1% of all the city's rides. D.C. comes third with what looks like nearly as many Rides of Glory as Boston (although given how recently Uber launched in D.C., I suspect our numbers may not be the most accurate — but we're not exactly talking high-minded science here, anyway). Seattle comes in second, and New York ranks last out of the six cities. An Uber commenter wisely notes that New York's last place may be due to the city's 24-hour public transportation.

Voytek also uses his quantitative powers to assess where his Glory Riders return the next morning, which he shows in the map above. "This shows the proportion of Rides of Glory compared to normal rides," he explained about the map. He lists the neighborhoods as follow: Downtown, Dupont Circle, U Street Corridor, Adams Morgan, Georgetown, Foggy Bottom, Capitol Hill, Logan Circle. The people who take Uber for quick overnight trips tend to live centrally in the Dstrict then, I suppose we can conclude. Uber also breaks down the hook-ups by month and days of the week (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday include by far the most).

What a world we live in. Thanks for the data, Uber!

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