If there’s an emergency in New York, phoning 911 might not always be the fastest option – as taxi app Uber can beat the ambulance service by nearly four minutes.
The surprising claim is made by Thought Bubbles which has been doing the digging – it reckons that the average wait time for an ambulance is 6.1 minutes in the city, compared to 2.42 minutes for an Uber in Manhattan, and 3.1 minutes for an Uber further out.
Author Minqi Jiang argues that this difference happens because of the increased complexity of dispatching the paramedics: whereas the Uber app will talk to the servers and an algorithm will allocate a car, ambulance dispatching involves a 911 call, and the person on the line sending the details through to the appropriate emergency service – which then have to be relayed on to the person in the car.
The reason this is significant is pretty obvious too – as the quicker paramedics can reach someone in need, the higher the likelihood of survival. Jiang goes on to suggest that Uber should be mandated to include basic medical kit – like defribillators and epipens in all Uber vehicles, and that it could easily save lives.