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Going My Way? The Evolution of Shared Ride and Pooling Services

May 29, 2020

man driving vehicle

Sharing rides is a longstanding tradition that predates even horse-and-buggy travel. Recent innovations, however, make sharing a ride easier, more convenient, and more efficient. Innovative mobility services premised on pooling — getting multiple riders into the same vehicle — can lower travel costs, mitigate congestion, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They also offer travelers more mobility choices between the traditional bookends of auto ownership and public transit. 

The motivations for pooling are simple. There are economic incentives. Cars are among the most underused capital assets in our economy, sitting empty 95 percent of the time and usually carrying only one person the rest of the time. If cars were used more often, and if they carried two, three, or four passengers, their cost per rider, and per hour, would drop dramatically. But the benefits of pooling go well beyond cheaper mobility. If the car is carrying many people who might otherwise drive themselves, sharing can result in fewer vehicles on the road, which means less air pollution and energy use and fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and parking spaces. With more than 1 billion cars and light trucks in the world, the potential for major reductions in pollution and GHGs is huge — in the United States and most other countries.

We know that technologically, a future with many shared rides is now possible. What we don’t know is whether and under what conditions people will be willing to make that transition. Thinking about this possibility requires...

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Transfers Magazine

Car-sharing companies are taking a less germ-infested route in Covid-19 times

May 20, 2020

getaround vehicle with logo

Car-sharing platforms, which have suffered during the Covid-19 lockdown, see an opportunity emerging: an increase in short-distance, local trips as U.S. consumers look for a different way of getting to work and running errands.

Executives from Turo, GetAround and ZipCar are hoping their pitch to customers—a means of travel that is cheaper than car ownership and sanitary—will also win business from public transit users and Uber and Lyft riders.

In addition to the uptick in shorter trips, the companies also report increased use by essential workers and health-care workers. “Customer confidence in travel safety can change their booking habits," said Preeti Wadhwani, a research analyst with Global Market Insights. “Health-care providers or first responders are relying on car-sharing companies such as Turo to commute to work."

GetAround says overall trip volume in the U.S. has declined by almost 50% since states began shutting down their economies in mid-March. Turo says its business also has fallen dramatically, undoing the 60% year-on-year growth they saw as recently as February, according to Chief Executive Officer Andre Haddad. Zipcar also reports an “expected decline in demand," particularly in business travel and on university campuses, Zipcar President Tracey Zhen said in an email...

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Hindustan Times