By June 26, 2017 Read More →

Some ride-sharing users giving up their own cars: Reuters/Ipsos poll

ride sharing

Some drivers are ditching their wheels and using ride sharing services to get around. Uber photo.

Automakers see new market in ride-sharing services

A poll by Reuters/Ipsos shows that there is a growing number of people who are giving up their personal vehicles and turning to ride-sharing services to get around.

Wally Nowinski was 16 and living in Michigan when he got his first car.  After living in New York City for two years, the 32 year old sold his vehicle and is now using bike and ride-sharing services.

“My mom didn’t think I could do it. She thought I would buy a new car in six months,” he told Reuters. But that was more than a year ago, and his car budget of $820 per month fell to $250 for car sharing and ride services last year. “I take Uber like pretty frivolously,” he said.


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And the poll shows that Wally Nowinski is not alone.

In the past year, nearly one quarter of Americans sold or traded in a vehicle.  Most of those people got another car, but 9 per cent of them ditched their wheels and are now using Lyft Inc and Uber Technologies.

According to the poll, about the same number are expecting to get rid of their cars and turn to ride sharing services in the upcoming 12 months.

While the numbers are small, they could be early evidence that more consumers believe ride sharing can replace vehicle ownership.

Automakers are dipping a toe in ride-sharing services and believe if the technology gets adopted quickly, self-driving car technologies will also flourish.

Companies like Ford say they are preparing for technology changes, including increased demand for ride services and, eventually self-driving vehicles. “Those are the factors that are driving our move into being both an auto and a mobility company,” Ford spokesman Alan Hall told Reuters.

It is not clear whether ride service drivers, who put a lot miles on their vehicles will buy new cars more frequently and if they will compensate for any long term drop in personal car ownership.

Lyft’s Director of Transportation Policy, Emily Castor told Reuters the survey is ‘early evidence’ that the company’s vision where personal car ownership is unnecessary is beginning to take hold.

“What we’ve seen anecdotally aligns with what you’ve found,” Uber Head of Transportation Policy and Research Andrew Salzberg told Reuters.

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Because this is the first survey on the subject by Reuters/Ipsos, it is not possible to tell if the move to ride services from car ownership is accelerating.  Respondents were not asked if they gave up their vehicles because of ride services.

The survey did show that 39 per cent of Americans have used ride sharing services and that 27 per cent of respondents did so at least several times per week.

In 2016, University of California, Berkeley researcher Susan Shaheen did a survey on consumers moving to ride-sharing services and found a small portion of participants sold a vehicle due to car sharing.

Bruce Schaller said most of the move to ride sharing can be attributed to factors such as moving in and out of cities and job changes.  He added “It’s not the predominant trend, but there are a significant number of people who have changed their lifestyle, if you will, and are now relying much more on ride services than their own car.”

This is especially true for those who used multiple sharing services, including ride share, car share and bike share.

The Reuters/Ipsos US poll was conducted online in English between April 5-11 and gathered responses from 584 people who had sold their vehicles within the past 12 months.  The poll also got responses from 566 people who said they planned to get rid of their own vehicles within the coming year.

The poll has a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 5 percentage points for the people who recently got rid of their vehicle or planned to do so in the future.


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