Can Rideshare Catch On Where It's Easy to Drive?

In medium-sized cities and suburban areas, it's simply easier to drive your own car in most cases. But shared rides might still have a chance to catch on.

1 minute read

March 24, 2017, 8:00 AM PDT

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc


Lyft

Alfredo Mendez / Flickr

There's driving versus transit, and then there's driving versus rideshare. In places unsuited to transit, or where it's unavailable, are people accustomed to their cars willing to try sharing rides? That means not just taking Uber, for example, but being open to sharing an Uber ride with an unknown fellow passenger. 

On Austin, Texas, Paul Mackie writes, "there is no problem parking anywhere in town, so driving is simply what Austinites do. It is a place with some options, like bikeshare and light rail, that make it easy to be a multimodal citizen in the core, but they are often lost against the ease of driving for people who live more than a few miles out."

However, services like a Mercedes-Benz on-demand shuttle pilot in Orange County, California have met with some success. According to the company's business innovation head, "Surprisingly, we were able to change behavior. People liked to be picked up in an on-demand shuttle in 10 to 15 minutes. And they started interacting better and opened a bigger sense of community in that area."

Mackie concludes with some of the reasons why riding (and driving) rideshare doesn't catch on. They include the cost of shared rides, lack of awareness that the option exists, low gas prices, concerns around liability, and lots of easy parking. 

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