/rant

Why does everyone assume that autonomous cars will lead to more ride sharing? In a few major markets autonomous cars fleet with take the place of taxis, uber, Lyft and all those other “ride sharing” apps. News flash, Car2Go isn’t ride sharing, it is just a new take on renting a car. Uber isn’t ride sharing, you just caught a cheaper taxi, good for you.“Ride-sharing” exists now, it is called car-pooling. Do you know how many people car-pool? 4. They all live in Idaho.

People need to get to work. The vast majority of the car buying population has a job that operates during normal business hours. This is the cause of rush hour. People leave their house as late as possible in order to get to work on time. They don’t pick up anyone on their way to work. They drive alone, singing Stronger as they go. They don’t want to waste their time picking up someone else. Having an autonomous car won’t change this. It will still take time to drive to Alf’s house and wait for him to finish his breakfast. Maybe if you are lucky, Alf will eat his cat burrito in the autonomous car as it drives both of you to Initech.

Okay, so maybe after the morning rush hour, the car makes a second trip and gets a lazy bum retiree who doesn’t work but needs to go run some errands. Let’s examine why this won’t work. When you get into the autonomous ride-sharing vehicle, the clock starts ticking. You are paying for that ride. It isn’t free. If you want that car to pick you up and drive you around, is that any different than getting a taxi now? No, it isn’t. You are paying for the vehicle’s time. It will require maintenance, it will require a rate to cover the overhead for the business, it will require to pay for those happy ending massages at the country club for the CEO. People don’t take taxis around now as a primary mode of transportation because they have realized the benefits don’t outweigh the higher costs. Sure, in New York, where having a car is very expensive and you can walk everywhere, people do use taxis but only because it is cheaper than having a car.

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When autonomous cars become ubiquitous, I’ll have two. I’ll need two. My wife and I both have jobs in different locations that require us to commute during rush hour. I won’t pay for the overhead and associated costs of a driverless taxi.

I have yet to see anything beyond pure speculation to showcase any correlation between an increase in autonomous cars and an increase in car-pooling, that is exactly what ride sharing is, car-pooling. People don’t car-pool now, they won’t for the foreseeable future.

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For everyone who thinks the percentage of the population that will depend on a driverless taxi will increase, I’ve got some wonderful ocean front property in Arizona with your name on it.

/endrant

For your time