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No Car. No Problem. The Future of Car Ownership

When I graduated from college in 2015, Uber nor Lyft had made it to New Orleans yet. Ride sharing was a luxury only available in big cities like New York and Los Angeles. That was fine because New Orleans was the perfect city for a student without a car. The city is extremely easy to get around. I often found myself biking to doctor’s appointments, grocery stores and of course, class. We had the streetcar to take us down Saint Charles and into the French Quarter. Then, there was the city bus, which took us where the streetcar did not reach. With the many transportation options, I did not feel like purchasing a parking pass was worth the high price just to have my car on-campus. The only time I truly had access to my car was senior year when I moved off campus, and even then, it was more of a hassle than anything and was barely used. Thus, I became significantly less reliant on my car as my sole method of transportation

Now as a young professional living in Atlanta, I saw a ton of my peers splurge on their first adult cars while I kept the same car I had since sophomore year of high school. While part of my reasoning was based on saving, I knew there was a possibility that I could move to a city where I did not need a car. Along with the chance of moving to a New York or Chicago, I saw that the transportation industry was about to be radically changed. Although I could not put my finger on exactly what was to come, I decided to wait on purchasing a new vehicle, and I am happy I did. As I think of the growing transportation options, the sharing economy seems to be something I can most immediately participate in because although autonomous cars can completely alter our lifestyle, there is still development and policy needed before it is readily available.

Most millennials in “driving” cities have cars. They use them to get to and from work and run errands. Socially, it is much more common to use Uber or Lyft to navigate the city because of limited parking, alcohol consumption and ease of use. Therefore, it makes sense to forego the obstacles of driving to your destination and just order a car and relax in the backseat worry free.

Because my car remains parked on the weekends, my office is along the public transit route and I have the option to work from home, it is quite possible for me to get rid of my car altogether. If I eliminate using my car for my work commute, that leaves me with the need for transportation for errands. The solution to this would be car sharing.

Car sharing is as easy as downloading an application, filling in the payment information and booking a car. Rental options are by the hour or by the day, which is perfect for errands or road trips. This car can be as glamorous or as basic as the driver would like — both luxury and affordable automobile manufacturers are providing car sharing options.

The automobile industry should not fear the transformation taking place in their industry. In fact, they should be racing to find the business model that would not only support but spearhead this evolution because the innovators, the trailblazers will undoubtedly have an advantage. Those companies are analyzing how they are interacting with the customer now and envisioning how they can enhance that experience to be more convenient and appealing to them, which will in turn create new streams of revenue and increase customer satisfaction.