Monday, 4 January 2016
New Year’s Resolutions and Uber Futures
It’s that time of year when change is in the air, best intentions are dusted off, and commitments are made. Stuff like: spend less, get fit, lose weight, walk or bike more. That sort of thing. Some have probably been broken already, despite the reams of media coverage designed to help overcome the human weaknesses that frequently get in the way of our best intentions. Readers of this blog will not be surprised to hear that the nearest thing to a magic bullet for achieving the resolutions listed above is: don’t own a car. Which for the majority of us, who live in urban areas, is a lot easier than it might seem. And it’s getting even easier: a significant bit of news on Christmas Eve was taxi ride service Uber announcing that it had completed its billionth ride worldwide. A fortuitous figure in the context of its current fund-raising round, the news means that app-driven personalised transport now offers a viable alternative to car ownership in many cities around the world (Uber isn’t the only game in town). Why bother with all the hassle of car ownership when you can summon up a ride at the touch of a smartphone? Closer to home, Uber has been given permission to operate in Brighton and Hove for a year (the normal licence runs for five years, and Uber will have to demonstrate that it follows the usual rules set out for Brighton and Hove taxis). Combined with the existing options of car hire, car clubs, biking (bike hire scheme in the pipeline), walking and public transport, the list of reasons for Brightonians and Hovistas to own a car is getting shorter. Which ought to help with those New Year Resolutions.