Driving Yourself vs Being Driven
Living in LA has always meant owning a car. I remember when the Gotham Gal was a senior in college and got a semester long internship in LA. Her first comment to me back then was “now I have to get a car.” She got one. It was a little Datsun two door. I can’t remember the make and model but she drove it back and forth to work and then sold it before coming back to the east coast to finish college.
I’m writing this in an Uber going from the west side of LA to downtown LA to see the Jasper Johns show at The Broad.
Last night we went out all over LA and took Ubers everywhere. The cars stayed home and we went out.
Ride-sharing has changed LA a lot. We have friends our age who live here, in Hollywood, and don’t own a car.
We went to dinner last night with friends who have a son who is a senior in high school and doesn’t drive and has no real interest in learning how. This young man grew up in LA!
We did the math and his parents save money because the cost of ride-sharing when he can’t take the bus to school is a lot less than the cost to lease and insure a car for him.
Right now, in LA, this is a fringe lifestyle. Most everyone out here owns a car and drives themselves.
But I can see and feel that things are changing. To start we take ride-sharing when we don’t want to drive or it’s more convenient to not drive. But over time, we are choosing to drive ourselves less and have someone drive us more.
The auto industry is right to be concerned about this. Change is afoot and it is going to impact our car purchasing behavior at some point.
Why Uber when you can Lyft?Uber is a disgusting company. The sexual harassment stuff is only the start.Marco iansiti has talked about how auto industry will have a winner take most network emerging. Def not tesla, hope not Uber. Google? Startup tbd?
UBER black assures you that the car is driven by a licensed commercial driver and Uber can provide large SUVs.
Uber is a disgusting company. The sexual harassment stuff is only the start.I don’t agree in principle with the concept of punishing a company (which consists of employees and workers who have no role in the negatives at all) because of the bad apples who may run the company or what they did. Great when it doesn’t impact you at all and it’s not your job at that company.
I disagree a bit — especially If that “bad apple” behavior is prevalent and came from the founders and leaders, then the company *should* be punished. This is exactly what “voting with your dollars” means. It doesn’t have to be *only* about the product or service. Also, Uber has almost no employees, only “contractors” 😉 They could just as easily switch to Lyft
everybody is guilty to some degree. employees who tolerate or allow such a working environment (not only the sexual harassment but the whole business about keeping the fact that they were hacked and customer information was stolen a secret) are guilty, as are shareholders for idly standing by, customers for enabling the finances of this operation, drivers for enabling the business operations, etc. it takes a village to raise a child, and to destroy one also.
Plus the Metro/light rail is pretty serviceable now…a pipe dream when I grew up there
I read an article about the “new model” of LA commuting which combines bike/ride share/etc with a Metro ride to dodge traffic on the long stretch, then picking up another ride share to finalize the journey. It’s cheaper than a car even for daily commuting, according to the article I read.
In the future, we’re going to be driven places for free. That’s why Google is in the business of self-driving cars. I search for a Japanese restaurant. The Japanese restaurant results bid for my business, and the one I go to pays Google when I arrive in one of their self-driving vehicles. Same business model as AdWords.
that might drive down restaurant prices.
This assumes a supply and demand curve that matches the marketing supply curve.Restaurants are not endless – which is what the supply of online ad inventory now is – and they will not bid for you.No sale.
Don’t restaurants already bid for you with Groupon? And Yelp?I agree it won’t be exactly the same, but think that restaurants would still least consider this channel.
Agree.Just left LA. Uber everywhere. Uber stipend part of many comp packages as well.Many friends there don’t have cars. Many kids aren’t interested.I’d like to see a proportional growth of public trans. Train from SM to downtown is good but slow. Trans from SM to Hollywood a pain as train routes don’t connect in downtown.Bird dockless electric scooters are cool and everywhere.
Bird is awesome .they are all over my neighborhood
Yup.Was working a lot out of Rose Cafe and they were my wheels. Seem perfect for Venice.
wow, does not look attractive, can’t wait to check it out.(and Rose is my go-to spot too, when i’m around there)
Hard not to like that spot.
I read an article recently about how, even with as little coverage as the transit system in LA has, that a lot of people are commuting by combining ride sharing to get to transit stations, using the trains to get across town, then picking up another ride share to finalize their journey. Still cheaper than a car.
Hard to believe that this has happened really though quite heartening.I think the key is that ride share simply works better there that lets say NY and that is the glue that holds these changes together.Change sure is possible!
I saw an interesting TED talk the other day about how ride share may actually be a catalyst to sprawl, especially in places like China.https://www.ted.com/talks/p…
I have a client in public transit that is working on a long term “First and Last Mile” plan that includes ride share and autonomous vehicles.
1 thing hasn’t changed: Nobody walks in LA!https://www.youtube.com/wat…
We do in DTLA and Solana Beach
I take it that the 80’s song reference, including video clip, wasn’t clear.
Love the 80s, particularly the temperature 🙂
Ha! I’m old enough to remember Missing Persons, but for the first ~15 seconds before reading it, I thought this was Lady Gaga!
My pop culture glasses broke when Kurt Cobain died, so I’m blind to anyone after that.
But I can see and feel that things are changing. To start we take ride-sharing when we don’t want to drive or it’s more convenient to not drive. I think despite the fact that you are in LA now (not your home base) the fact that you live in NYC greatly alters how you see this. Because that’s a cab culture with crowded streets and expensive parking. That is the lens you think through. Hard to get away from that. My daughters live in the city. When they shared a car they kept it at a train station outside of the city and used it to go home occasionally.I am not disputing that kids care less about cars than we did growing up. They do. But this idea that people in the suburbs don’t need cars isn’t going to take hold in a big way. You do it because you are just visiting. Going to a museum is not mission critical. It’s not someone who needs to get to a job or pick up kids at school or stop at the supermarket and so on.Ride-sharing has changed LA a lot. We have friends our age who live here, in Hollywood, and don’t own a car.Also it’s unclear to me what someone with money (your friends I am guessing earn a decent living) wouldn’t want the convenience and security  of owning a vehicle or even a few. I own two cars and my wife has one car. When my stepson drives he will get a car. Yesterday a squirrel apparently chewed through the full line in one of my cars and it had to be towed to the dealer to fix (at no charge I might add.). The dealer will not only give me a replacement car but in the mean time I will just use my other car. And I work only minutes from where I live. Today my wife is using her car to drive down the shore to look at a property we just bought. Can’t imagine her using Uber for that. And why should she? Why in the world would I want to have to arrange and wait for a Uber to pick me up from work and all of that jazz? You eat out at nice restaurants when it’s clear it would be cheaper to eat and cook at home. What does money matter if you aren’t going to spend it on things that somehow have a benefit? (Not you but the ‘general’ public).In short I have to say that your view is greatly colored by things that you are not seeing that happen in the everyday world. Honestly this is no different than the proverbial miss on hacker news about dropbox. Nerds asked ‘why does anyone need that when they can just use rsync’. Big fail on that as anyone who deals with these ‘normals’ (I do) knows. Normals have a different set of requirements and needs than tech people or even people who live in NYC and/or are millennials for that matter.Once again not saying cars aren’t losing importance in the eyes of some people and that Uber et al isn’t an alternative for many. But not to the degree you are presenting it. In the case of an impending mass disaster, storm, whatever, I like the fact that we can all pile into a car and get somewhere else. Call it insurance.
Could not agree more. But I think the perspective is right….live in Big Cities?? Hell yes. My college fraternity roommate does not own a car. Lives in Lewis Wharf, Boston.Smart Move.Now here is the question…..as technology, communications, and access to education improve, does living in a big city matter and can you earn a premium there?For people that say I am a person of the world, the question is……Is there somebody qualified as you that is willing to do your job for 5% of what you are getting paid.I would say it is moving up the ladder. First for labor, now for basic computing skills, and then????
As one who was born and raised in LA, the city was synonymous with an auto. To this day, when I return (left decades ago) I dread the need for an auto to make the rounds visiting family. While I thank technology for the options; I’m a bit peeved at the state that public transportation remains insufficient. One need only look elsewhere in the world to see how a world-class infrastructure, accessible to all, propels a population. Thoughts from #GrandmaElla
Public transit is just that, public. Once must get engaged with the public process to to help inform change.
So are native Los Autolenos generally lazy slobs?
Its fascinating isn’t it! I have been reading a lot about autonomous taxi networks on Ark Invest’s site from an analyst named Tasha Keeney… by their account these ATNs will cost as little as $0.35/mile. I wonder what the emergent services will be that come of this? and the new personal assets that serve the “job to be done” of social status and significant personal expression… eg the bald dude in the red ferrari of 2030 ahha https://uploads.disquscdn.c…
heres the link to Tasha’s research if your interested … http://research.ark-invest….
Jasper Johns. One of South Carolina’s favorite sons. His high school, in Sumter, SC, is three blocks from my home and still standing. Now used for the arts and theatre. Appropriate. Lasting impression in our state. Not sure if he’s still living. Enjoy the show.
https://uploads.disquscdn.c… There’s a calculator that compares the cost of Uber vs. Owning your car, across some variables. On average, it seems that Owning is twice as expensive over 10 years.http://www.rideordrive.org/…
I think it would depend on what type of car. I have a 16 year old Prius which is far more cost efficient than ride-sharing when I calculate my total cost of ownership over the amount of years I have owned it.
true. if you already own one.
I would imagine that when these calculators factor in the value of your time, and the fact that you can possibly work more while being driven than while driving, your own earning capacity would ideally massively outweigh the cost of operating any car. Though I have a 16 year-old Prius as well and the thing is a champ! Little Purple Prius (LPP) for life!
I work from home. It’s ROI magic.
find this interesting and thanks.considering another residence and evaluating as some like LA don’t require one, some a county house do.wherever it is and if it is will be an electric one most likely.
This is a great perspective, but I don’t believe it weighs quality against cost savings. For instance, if you value getting out of the city and surfing and camping on the weekends, owning a car can enable your passion and give you significant freedom. Would be interesting to see how this analysis compares when you factor in renting a car from Getaround every weekend to supplement your Ubers.
Exactly. The major driving I do is fun adventures with bike on the trunk rack and paddleboard strapped to the top. I have been known to take off for a month to a beach cottage in the Cape in September, working remotely, and enjoying myself immensely. Thinking I may start doing other locations soon.
Per my other comment I don’t really believe in this type of calculation which is essentially trying to assign a numerical value to what amounts to an analog decision. This is similar to some of those ‘rent’ vs. ‘own’ housing calculators. Or even to articles describing how there is (from some angles) little correlation between a good education (or even a top or IVY education) and earning potential. The amount you pay public vs. private education. I hate to (once again) use real estate as an example (because I am not a big player in any way like JLM was) however here is a small example. I am renovating a place. My wife thinks I shouldn’t spend the money that I want to ‘doesn’t need a new this or that’ and that I will never get the investment back in either rental fees or when I want to sell it. However my attitude is that if it helps me attract a better quality tenant that makes it worth the money right then and there. How do you measure that type of impact? You can’t. Time, aggravation and so on. This was always my philosophy and so far it’s paid off. I’ve even had two identical units and in one case a plastic surgeon only wanted to rent the renovated one even though I offered to renovate the un-renovated one the same way. He had an emotional bond that couldn’t be broken. And that is not the only example I can give for the impact which is well known. I can also give other examples in other businesses of things that appear to be counter-intuitive number wise. And I am able to use these things to my advantage and always have been actually. Noting that I btw that Fred met Joanne when he was at MIT not a Suny btw… My guess and it’s only a guess is that Joanne’s mother rated that school pretty highly. Ditto for Wharton that helped most likely Fred get his first job in VC. Is this always true and a benefit? No of course not. But generally advantages help if you can afford them.
I agree. it may not be practical to always call for a ride.
Perhaps I don’t live as busy of a live as most other people, but I spend a fair amount of time consuming content. Any time I get into my car, the podcast or audiobook I listen to immediately turns on, so I don’t feel like I’m wasting any time.If I’m on the move, I’m usually reading or messaging someone. I don’t really care to opt for ride sharing as an alternative to public transportation because I have more time to read at a much cheaper cost. If I’m with someone, then we’re probably having a conversation and I don’t see the rush of getting from point A to point B.Unless I’m in rush for a meeting where I need to be present in person, or I need to do work on my laptop, I can do anything from anywhere.
But Fred the real question is – have you ridden a Bird YET???? I love these scooters and it makes me so happy seeing all the young kids zipping around on them – – such a great last mile option – – http://money.cnn.com/2018/0…
How was the Johns show? Always loved how the flags managed to be so full of the debris of everyday life, but still hold your attention as images first- and rather abstract ones. That’s a hard trick to pull off in the best of times, and we’re …….
I moved to the outskirts of LA two years ago. I planned to get a car as soon as I moved, but instead bought a bicycle on my way from the airport. I never did buy that car.The bicycle gets me 90% of the places I need to get. The remainder is a combination of Lyfts, Ubers, rental cars, and public transport.The math always works. It is always less expensive than a car on a monthly basis. Not to mention it is healthier, better for the evironment, more productive, and less stressful.But it is not just one solution (ie, ride-sharing replaces cars) it is a combination of solutions—all enabled by technology. Even bicycling—before voice enabled maps I never would have been able to bike as many places as I do because I now have confidence I won’t get lost.I used to think owning a car meant freedom. I now believe not owning a car means freedom.
Owning a car is a burden.
When does losing the “know how” become too big of a risk? How would you feel if your millennial pilot didn’t actually know how to maually drive a plane?
I don’t see that as a risk. First, because I rent cars to get out of town at least once a month. That is another change that has occured. Technology has allowed car rental prices to be more competitive, and renting a car is cheaper than ever. And when I go out with friends or family, they often have me drive because I now enjoy it. But even if I didn’t have those opportunities to actually get behind the wheel, driving is so engrained I can’t imagine it not being intuitive. I took up skiing again after not having been on skis for over 20 years, and it didn’t take me more than one run to have it all fall into place again. I think everyone should *learn* to drive, just like everyone should learn to swim. But it just doesn’t have to be the default mode of transport like it is for most people.
My comment was more about 12 year olds now that may never learn how to drive…
Ahh, yes. A world where current 12-16 year olds might grow up not learning to drive.A quick search shows this is already happening: “In 2014, just 24.5 percent of 16-year-olds had a license, a 47-percent decrease from 1983, when 46.2 percent did.” (University of Michigan study as quoted in the Atlantic.)My hope is that those that don’t learn to drive will be more incentivized to help create a world where individual car ownership is not the status quo. And I believe that will make for a better world.
In cities with inferior mass transit and/or bad cab service, ride share is an abso god send. Used Lyft and Uber exclusively when in LA a few weeks ago (including trips to The Broad and Disney Hall) and all this weekend while in DC. The convenience and ease of use is astonishing. LA prob top of my list for value. Nothing more stressful than LA drivIng.
no need to rent a car or drive in la as ride share is so effective there.place like los feliz or even hollywood both which i really love are just a pain from the west side regardless.
Yeah, I wanted to rent and my better half said “what for.” She was right, plus we were primarily staying near the beach and west of the 405. We ate at Cassia, Gjelina, and Felix. All LA trendy w/ pretty good food, but all crazy loud. Such a different vibe than Seattle, but def fun. Miss traveling to LA when I was working f/t.
yup different but been awhile since i’ve been to Seattle. Fortunate that i have a strong network and good supply of work in LA.need to say that during the last week here (en route home) when I did something a bit out of the way like a canyon walk or early one morning to malibu i ubered up and met a friend who drove me back as both a bit out of the way.
Training up to NYC now from DC (a family gig). Only interested in 3 things: 1) A big ass corned beef sandwich, 2) a good slice of pizza and 3) a bagel that doesn’t taste like cardboard. None particularly healthy, but my body yearns.
no reason your wishes should not be filled!for me i miss samthecat, biking on the hudson in the early morning and the community over wine at my local haunts.ny btw is one of the most bike friendly of the large cities in the world alongside paris. la is really not great for paths.
absolutely transformed my Atlanta experiences, too. Taxis there were basically non-existent and the transit only covers a small part of the town. Last trip to ATL and it was like the entire city had opened up. Not only was there ride sharing, but they also developed an amazing inner-city pedestrian/bike loop that is seriously awesome.
I am probably spoiled by mass transit. And ride-share too. My car wouldn’t start on Friday. Just hopped on my bike and went about my day. Had plans and work ( a big deadline looming) all weekend and today so didn’t think much about it. Meanwhile, the few people I told are calling me and sending me text messages as if it’s some kind of giant emergency. So I called my friend John (just because so many people were texting me) and said, “Hey, will you come by and jump my car? It won’t start.” A half hour later, I was all set. But I had already been planning to take the train to a meeting I have tomorrow. I didn’t really care at all about the car not running.
Living on the west coast: I appreciate your observations to some of the changes going on out here. I’ve cut my driving habits by 30%-40%, often opting for Uber on my work commute rather than driving in 405 traffic. The math is coming together and I do believe cost + ubiquity + quality tech experience = success.
I live in Santa Monica. I was commuting down to Newport Beach when we first moved here, so felt I needed a car. Then I no longer needed to commute, and I put a total of 500 miles on the car over about one year. The car was depreciating at about $500 per month. Sold it and bought a 1969 VW bus (hoping millennials discover the classics and start a craze). Possibly the best purchase we’ve made. Ride sharing can’t replace certain experiences, but for city commuting, LA is much better for it. I still feel you need a car if you live in LA and enjoy surfing and getting out of the city often.
i had a 69 bus back when and thought of it as there are a bunch in Venice that i saw walking around.So classic.
I am hoping they make that VW Microbus that I’ve seen on the Internet. I am so in with that.
Yeah, it’s pretty cool. VW is definitely moving forward with it. Elon Musk has mentioned a bus before, but his will probably be more utility focused than what VW is doing. I would buy a modern electric camper bus in a heartbeat. Seems like a solid opportunity for VW if they can execute. Here is more info: http://newsroom.vw.com/vehi…
I can imagine getting one and roaming around the country, working remotely, and charging up at public parks and camp grounds.
#vanlife is a thing. I love those old VW buses.
Suburbs different than city. I spent 2 weeks in Silicon Valley. Couldn’t imagine not having a car. Spending 2 weeks in SF. Car is a pain. Parking here is tough.
I live 70 miles north of Wall Street and have never seen an Uber vehicle. Taxi service where I live is awful: Call and maybe they will be here in 1-2 hours or not at all.But in what ways and why is Uber better than just an old taxi service?
70 miles North of Wall Street, NYC? I am 60 miles North of midtown, NYC, and Ubers are everywhere. Actually had a funny incident last week where my guest was leaving and the guest of my neighbor (we live in a duplex) was leaving at the same time for an Uber in the street out front (a one block street, capped by perpendicular streets that hardly anyone drives down). They each walked up to the wrong Uber, got in, then had to get out and go to the other Uber. Hilarious!
I’m not trying to flirt with you! Your thumbnail picture is so cute I’m tempted, but I’m concentrating on my work!!! :-)From the geography data, we can’t be very far apart. Still, you see lots of Ubers, and I don’t see any.I don’t understand Uber: The business model advantages of Uber are …?
Social media is the other aspect of the lack of interest in driving.A DL meant the ability to see friends when I turned 16. My daughter turns 16 this spring and the biggest issue she has is getting away from her social scene. Little interest in a car, which is pretty fundamental here in the H
Agreed. Seeing this here in the SF Bay Area in my 17 yr old daughter’s cohort. Especially at night. Re: auto industry- this could be a huge disruption as most “rides for hire” will necessarily have to be new or newish models, or exceptionally well-maintained >4 yrs. the big disruption from fewer cars purchased by consumers is the credit portfolio of automakers. Looking at the income statement we see that the bulk of free cashflow comes not from sales margins on units, but rather from financing paper (loans, leases). If more “rides for hire” eventually vector towards aggregation – if Lyfts and Ubers and getarounds et al get into /get back into buying and leasing or renting cars to drivers, or buy fleets outright, credit revenue for the few vehicles sold will plummet for the automakers. This could trigger a cascading set of events resulting in more automaker consolidation and higher prices (as the revenue would need to revert back to per-unit gross margins instead of financing revenue).
I am sympathetic but not entirely convinced.I live in Venice on the beach. I barely need to go east of Lincoln. I had two cars but I am traveling a lot so I got rid of them both. I am still to see how this experiment will work out when I get back to LA for a decent stretch. I have two sons who work in LA. One has a car but the other experimented with ride share only for several months. He ended up getting a car. Uber was fine for most regular activities but he found it less convenient for the spontaneous trips. He found that in consequence he did find himself a little more home bound.The explosion on the west side is electric bikes, skateboards and scooters.
So this is a form (sort of) of the counterfactual of urban history actually becoming a hindsight reality. Car manufacturers have reason to be concerned, about sales and profits, but also about their reputation as an industry. History will not be kind to their legacy. Imagine what city living could have been like without the unfettered influence of their pernicious product.All hail Zermatt.
When in India Uber / Ola is cheap safe & practical still amazes how the nationals are so adept at using mobiles when traveling. Once asked a friend what sort of car he would like given any choice, replied I don’t care as long as the chap in front is wearing a hat !! Seems we will all have the option
someone should come up with a generic term for ridesharing to avoid a “xerox” situation, where the action is know incorrectly by a company name. My wife and daughters do refuse to use uber usually. Had an interesting situation last week where my leftist leaning tour guide in Medellin Columbia railed about using “uber” vs taxis and how Uber was sucking all the money out of Columbia. We took a local taxis after and then for stuck in the horrible traffic without ac on our trip to centro to see the Boteros (which we awesome), needless to say on the return trip to the hotel we fired up the Uber app and got a great, cheap, safe ride in a new car (with AC!)
CONTRIBUTORS:Cough Cough!Right now for the wealthy, upper middle class, educated and those heavily invested in this disruption. Twenty years from now if that soon for the masses.Regular folks still need to get groceries, children from daycare, etc. Owning a vehicle for the working person is status. Tax returns prove the power of used vehicles to the working person. This blog needs to get out with regular people. Not only when donating, asked to speak at an event or driving by people you will never have a normal conversation with. When is the last time you purchased a homeless person a cup of coffee ☕ and just listened? Exactly!This blog is influencers letting people know what they need when they don’t know it.Captain Obvious!#UnequivocallyUnapologeticallyIndependent
You are right. Everyday people cannot afford ride share.
Is there a single ride sharing company that breaks even?
I always found it puzzling that a city w/ weather like LA’s doesn’t have more transportation options that aren’t your own personal car. It’s exciting to see all of this change seemingly at once (but really a very long time coming) – more scooters, bikes, skateboards, etc. esp on the Westside. I took it as a sign of the times to come when I was the only one who self-drove to a recent meetup of LA friends.
Ownership vs. Service is a huge game changer…but even more is the additional value creation potential of time spent in the car itself. Exciting and challenging times for the automotive industry…
Excellent and related series from a16z on the autonomy ecosystem: https://a16z.com/2018/02/03…
Mmm. My stepdaughter turns 15 tommorrow. She didn’t get the no interest in driving memo. I take her to permit on wednesday.
Here is after we got her permit https://uploads.disquscdn.c…
My wife and I started with twins – one boy and one girl. Daughter turned 15 and got her license same day and got her license on her 16th birthday. She and her brother are 19 and in college now – and HE still DOES NOT have his license. We live in South Florida, he used the heck out of Uber and relied on his sister AND younger brother to drive him around. He is very smart – at Georgia Tech – but this is just not a priority for him. Meanwhile, his sister is negotiating for a car at college next year in Ohio.
My son is 21 and could care less. Never got his license. Went to Illinois Institute of Technology. Takes the train just about everywhere. He walks or cycles the last mile.
I would do that for Thing.
I’m sure they will for $100/day! 😉
I bet this change you speak of, will be spurred on by the fact that more and more people are moving into cities, as this is where more and more of the employment happens.