The Number Of Ambulance Rides Goes Down After Uber Comes To Town: Report

Image: AP

In another sign of our dystopian present, ambulance rides drop a whole bunch once Uber becomes available in a locality. It turns out even a $100 Uber ride is a hell of a lot cheaper than calling something with life-saving care in it.

Yes, there’s a joke about the things Uber drivers carry in their cars in here somewhere.


From The Mercury News:

Co-authors David Slusky, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Kansas, and Dr. Leon Moskatel, an internist at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego, said they believe their study is the first to explain a trend that until now has only been discussed anecdotally.

Comparing ambulance volumes before and after Uber became available in each city, the two men found that the ambulance usage rate dipped significantly.

Slusky said after using different methodologies to obtain the “most conservative” decline in ambulance usage, the researchers calculated the drop to be “at least” 7 percent.

“My guess is it will go up a little bit and stabilize at 10 to 15 percent as Uber continues to expand as an alternative for people,’’ Moskatel said.

It’s difficult to pin down an average ambulance ride cost due to things like geography and different providers, but running in the thousands of dollars isn’t unheard of, and at least a couple hundred bucks sounds standard.

So if your bank account isn’t as fat as your arteries, you might consider taking that Uber instead, which is a horrible sign of societal decline.


The study has not been peer-reviewed, but, as The Mercury News notes, jibes with what you might expect, that, given the choice between an expensive option, which for most people calling an ambulance is, to a lesser expensive option, like taking a taxi, people are opting to take the taxi, forgoing some amount of medical care that they may or may not need.

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Erik Shilling

News Editor at Jalopnik. 2008 Honda Fit Sport.