An opinion poll conducted by Reuters/Ipsos showed that out of the close to 25% of American adults who traded in or sold their car in the last one year, about 9% of that group opted for ride services such as Uber and Lyft to meet their transportation needs. Another 9% also revealed that in the next 12 months they had plans of disposing of their vehicles and turning to ride services.
Car sales under threat
Despite being a small percentage, the number of consumers turning to ride services might be a pointer to the fact that more people see ride sharing as an effective alternative to owning a car. This could mean that one of the new markets for car manufacturers will be drivers of ride services. It is not clear however whether drivers of ride services who are likely to replace their car more frequently will compensate for the drop that may occur in personal vehicle ownership in the long term. Another implication from the results of the survey is that ride services will be a boost for driverless car technology.
Emily Castor, the transportation policy director at Lyft said that the survey was in line with Lyft’s vision and added that personal vehicle ownership would continue to become unnecessary.
“What we’ve seen anecdotally aligns with what you’ve found,” Andrew Salzberg, the chief of research and transportation policy at Uber, said.
Since the poll was the first to deal with the subject, it was impossible to discern whether the shift from personal car ownership to ride services is accelerating. Respondents of the survey were also not asked whether their reasons for giving up their cars was due to ride services.
Other findings of the survey included the fact that the percentage of Americans who had used ride services was approximately 39%. The frequency of use for about 27% of this group that had used ride services was several times a week.
Change is coming
Susan Shaheen, a researcher at University of California, Berkley, affirmed that the survey results on the shift to ride services agreed with a study she had conducted in 2016 which showed that a small portion of users of a carsharing service sold their car because of the service. According to Alan Hall, a spokesperson for Ford, car manufacturers are preparing themselves for the technological change which will see the demand for ride services expand and which will also herald the rise of autonomous vehicles.