I do not live in a dense urban setting. My neighborhood, though walkable in modern standards, does not easily accommodate a quick run by foot to the corner store for missing ingredients needed for dinner. I can however hop in my car and find myself at the grocery store within 5 minutes. I am very used to the convenience and freedom of owning my own vehicle.
Four adults live in our household currently sharing two cars. There have only been a number of times I have felt inconvenienced by the lack of available transportation. My schedule and work commitments could easily adjust as I waited for a car to return. In a sense, our house is a microcosm of the the burgeoning car share industry. Until about a year ago, you could see 4 cars parked around our house. Our city enforces city service days and snow emergencies when no vehicles are allowed parking on the streets. We found ourselves parking our cars in a public lot a ¼ mile away to avoid fines. I do not miss this activity as our remaining cars line up easily in the driveway. I do not miss that many cars always in my sight lines.
The car share industry may feel very new to you with Zipcar
jumping to mind followed by Hertz, Avis, and Enterprise offering true car share
opportunities alongside their base rental business, but the concept has been
around for a while.
There is a Classic Car Club in England. The mission
statement on their homepage reads,”Established in London in 1995, Classic Car
Club is an exclusive private members’ club for people who love the joy of
driving classic cars but not the heartache of looking after them.” The idea is
simple, everyone loves the idea of racing down a country road in your
Lamborghini, but how to store it and where will the mechanic live, we’ll have
to renovate the chauffeurs quarters above the carriage house. I digress. This
concept of access without ownership is now available to the masses.
A lot has happened since 1995 when CCC of London, England decided to share the burden of purchasing, insuring, maintaining, and storing these elite vehicles for an elite few. Technology once again has leveled the playing field. It’s true your car share app may not lead you to a Porsche conveniently parked in front of the local hardware store, but you may find a Ford Focus there that will still get you where you need to go. Smart Technology does not only create a possible autonomous driver, but it helps with the economics of maintenance and all that entails.
Ownership will become a choice that does not infringe on the
right for mobility.