The Rise of Ride-Sharing – Will People Stop Owning their Cars in the Future?

These days, cars are everywhere, and for many of us, it has always been that way. Unless you live in a remote part of the country then you will have learnt to accept traffic jams during the commute as an unpleasant but unavoidable fact of life. But, believe it or not, bumper-to-bumper traffic and crawling home from work could soon be a thing of the past.

Have we reached ‘peak car’?

Academics at the University of Oxford and the University of the West of England have found that young people across Britain are ditching driving at a surprising rate. In 1993, 48 percent of 17-20-year-olds had a driving licence, but by 2014, that had fallen to just 29 percent. Over the same period, the number of drivers aged 21-29 fell from 75 to 63 percent.

This rejection of car ownership is thought to be much more than just a blip. In fact, a paper commissioned by the Department of Transport suggests it’s likely to become the new norm.

Why is car ownership on the slide?

In our cities, the use of cars is being overtaken by a number of altogether greener and more liberating possibilities. Travelling by car is an incredibly costly and inefficient mode of transport and that makes it ripe for disruption. The focus on many cities in the Western World is to make ride-sharing services, car-pool apps and the collective use of bikes viable alternatives to journeys by car. If ride-sharing apps are the present, driverless cars are likely to be the future. But that’s not the only way technology is having an effect.

Another reason that has been cited for the rejection of car ownership is our changing needs. Researchers have found that the ability to communicate online means young men and women aged 17 to 29 are now spending 80 minutes and 40 minutes respectively more at home per day than in 1995. The theory is that because we’re able to socialise whenever we want, we’re less likely to go out. It’s very possible that this evolution of the travel of young people is the first phase of a social change that will continue through successive generations.

The state of car ownership around the world

The sale of petrol and diesel cars is to be outlawed in the UK from 2040. Oxford has already announced that it will be the first British city to ban petrol and diesel vehicles from all but a few central locations by 2020. This progressive stance is being mirrored in a number of cities around the world. Paris plans to ban all non-electric cars by 2030 and is already announcing car-free days when drivers must stay out of central locations.

Even the US, a country that continues to be heavily reliant on car ownership, might have reached ‘peak car’ with the rapidly-evolving ride-sharing economy starting to take off. With 40 percent of car journeys in the US covering a distance of less than two miles, it’s also thought that cycling can bridge the ‘final mile’ gap between mass transit and a worker’s home or office.

Problems with the Ride Share model?

While the idea of multiple people sharing one car is beneficial for many reasons (better for the environment, saves drivers money etc.), problems with the Ride Share model will start to arise.

If a car is used by 100s of people, who takes ownership of cleaning it? It’s unlike every user will take the time to ensure the car is looking clean after use, so this problem will fall within the remit of the ride share operator. Businesses that had no intention of becoming fleet managers will suddenly find themselves fulfilling this role. And as these ‘fleets’ are designed for personal use, rather than professional, cleaning must be at the highest priority.

In order to keep operations costs down and ensure ride-sharing vehicles, especially as the ‘fleet’ grows, are clean enough to maintain user satisfaction, these new fleet managers will require an automated, on-demand service cleaning service that can deal with large fleets, travel to multiple locations, and clean vehicles anywhere while complying with environmental and waste water regulations.

The car wash of the future

Cars are not a thing of the past just yet, but perhaps the traditional car wash is. At Dropless, we provide a waterless car wash, wax and valet service. Our automated booking system means you can book a clean at any time, plus our cleaners will come to you. Each wash saves an average of over 300 litres and produces no hazardous runoff. Just sign into our app, tell us where your car will be and we’ll give it that showroom shine.