Flexibility and freedom more highly prized than lower cost of ride sharing, according to readers
A Reuters/Ipsos poll showing that 9 per cent of Americans who sold or traded in a car last year have ditched auto ownership in favour of Lyft and Uber ride sharing services, doesn’t resonate with North American Energy News readers. Most are firmly wedded to their cars, minivans, trucks and SUVs, and can’t imagine how family life, in particular, would function without a least one vehicle.
What came through loud and clear in the answers to my Facebook question asking readers if they would give up their car(s) for ride-sharing, is how complex peoples’ lives are.
Private ownership provides them with the flexibility to travel at a moment’s notice, make multiple stops (ferrying kids to and from activities is a big issue for families), and generally enjoy the freedom that comes with having at least one automobile in the driveway.
During an interview last month, Stanford economist Tony Seba argued a four to 10 fold reduction in cost per mile travelled would prompt owners to abandon their cars in droves. He calculated that by 2030, “95 per cent of U.S. passenger miles traveled will be served by on-demand Autonomous Electric Vehicles owned by companies providing Transport as a Service.”
Like Uber and Lyft, which are already developing autonomous EVs and appear destined to transition to TaaS firms.
But the preferences and attitudes illustrated in this (admittedly unscientific) survey demonstrate that private auto ownership will likely stick around for a long time, particularly in mid-sized cities like Calgary and Edmonton, where most residents live in the suburbs.
Carla Howatt: We have considered going to a one car family, sharing the one whenever possible and taking Uber’s the rest of the time. A definite possibility once the lease on a second car is up. I intend to document how much it costs us in payments, insurance, gas, average maintenance etc. Come up with a monthly amount and apply for a credit card that we use just for Uber. Put that monthly amount on the card each month and see what is left at the end.
Liam Mcevoy: Couldn’t force me into an Uber at gunpoint. Something is definitely amis when the worlds largest taxi service doesn’t own any cars.
Dwain Lingenfelter: If it was feasible, in a minute. We used Uber in Europe last week and it was great!
Connie Jensen: In a word, nope. Public transit, maybe.
Tej Swatch: Hell no.
Wendy Rudiger: Guess I’m paranoid but Mom always said to not get into a car with a stranger!! I feel safer locking my own car door.
Jeremy Smith: At this point, no not likely. My car affords me the freedom to travel when and where I need to, from down the block, to across the continent.
Richard Robinson: We’ve been a one-car family for about a year and a half. I take public transit to work, and bike to the transit terminal in the summer. I don’t have to worry about traffic or parking, and I car pool wherever possible in the evenings. We have two kids and it works out fine. I end up taking an uber maybe every other month. And the reduced insurance payment alone can cover a couple of car rentals over the year, so if need a big truck or a cube van…
Greg Johnston: Not a chance. Besides Uber’s business model being based on breaking the law (many laws), both of us enjoy driving, particularly sporty, manual transmission cars. Beyond that, our car trips, beyond shopping, the gym and so on are often out of town or longer trips in town for work for both of us. You’d never get Uber drivers for a lot of those trips.
Paul R. Welke: Not a chance. I just bought a car recently, as I’m going to need it for work. Also, we use our primary vehicle for vacations, much of which involves hitching up a trailer. I LOVE Uber, but couldn’t even come close to making it work as my sole mode of transportation.
Heather Alexandra: No. I have places to go and people to see and need the flexibility of my car. Plus my last Uber was the slowest drive home ever. Guy followed his navigation that took him 2 blocks up and 1 block over, then 1 block up and 2 blocks over – I think he turned about 8 times – he could have made it to my house in 3 turns. Made me crazy.
Dave Shook: No, for three reasons. First, I detest Uber the company’s corporate behavior. Second, I actually enjoy driving my car – after many years of practical cars I bought a sports car and I love driving it. Third, much of my driving is related to animal rescue, often off the beaten track. Can’t get an Uber out to the reserve to drop off a kennel and food, or pick up an injured dog. That’s in a truck or SUV, not the sports car.
Tom Young: I sold my car 2.5 years ago, exactly when Pogo CarShare started up in Edmonton. I figured a multimodal combo of CarShare, taxis, transit and cycling would do the trick for me, and it has. I took Uber for a while, but don’t like their business practices. Then I tried TappCar, an Edmonton alternative, but their fare structure was random and they refused to explain it to me. So now, on the rare occasion I need a cab, I just use traditional taxi companies. But this is only happens once every couple of months.
Adam Comartin: It would make sense for my wife as her commute is less than 4km and she takes our oldest son to school with her. I don’t think she would give up the freedom and flexibility of having her own dedicated vehicle though. For me as a substitute teacher, it wouldn’t make financial sense. My school district is 100km east-west and about 120km north-south. On top of just the commuting to work aspect, we live in Fort Saskatchewan and it’s a smaller city of 25,000 so it doesn’t have all the services we need and want. We take weekly trips to Sherwood Park as well as into Edmonton and St. Albert.
Agatha Smykot: No. We have a kid, and we need to get him to daycare. We also like to go to the mountains and have family in Canmore.
Melissa Wgness: I’ll go to car share when they are completely electric and fully automated. And I’m blind so they’ve revoked my licence. And my kid has had enough of driving his salty old mum around.
Callie MacLachlan: I’d never use Uber because I just wouldn’t feel safe getting into a stranger’s car. We share a car and walk or use transit when the car isn’t available.
Dana Popadynetz: No, but once a vehicle can drive itself and I can totally check out, I’m in. I hate driving.