Ride-sharing may be driving people away from car ownership

January 18, 2018

Ride-share company Lyft has released an “economic impact” report for 2017, and it makes some bold claims. Most notably, Lyft says that nearly 250,000 of its customers gave up owning a car because of ride-share availability.

Must of the report focuses on growth, with 2017 numbers rising sharply over 2016. The 23 million passengers represents a 92 percent gain over the previous year, while 375.5 million rides is a full 130 percent increase from 2016. Those rides were spread out among 1.4 million drivers, itself roughly double from a year ago.

While the claim of 250,000 riders giving up vehicle ownership purely because of ride-share availability is bold, to say the least, it correlates with some of Lyft’s other numbers. 50 percent of Lyft users say they have used their car less as a result of the service, while fully one quarter of users agree with the statement that personal ownership of vehicles isn’t very important.

These numbers, however, have to be taken in context: While Lyft is unquestionably growing at a tremendous clip, its numbers on personal transportation attitudes are skewed, given that the pool of respondents includes only those who are already Lyft users, and are thus by definition more open to ride-sharing than the general public. Further, recent studies have shown that a rise in ride-share usage doesn’t necessarily mean drivers are willing to give up owning their own means of conveyance, especially when it comes time to get to work in the morning.

Among Lyft’s other claims the busiest day of the year was New Years Eve, with two million rides on that one day alone. That information correlates with similar data from Uber, which revealed a list of its most popular destinations dominated by bars.

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