Only 19 percent of Americans in rural areas use ride-hailing apps.
When Uber and Lyft released their subscription services last year, each said that its program was a step toward moving America away from being a car-dependent society.
“We’ll own cars the way we own horses,” author of The Membership Economy Robbie Kellman Baxter told me. “It’s a folly, it’s a fun thing, but it’s not the way we get around.”
Of course, ride-hailing services are fully behind the elimination of car ownership, as that would improve their bottom line, but some gig economy and transportation experts, like Baxter, also believe that eventually all mobility will be subscription-based. Cornell University infrastructure policy program director Richard Geddes has said that trading in car ownership for a subscription model would be more economically viable for many Americans and is probably the way the automotive industry is going. “Car ownership is so inefficient,” he says. “Families are not good at owning cars. They are not good at buying them, not good at selling them, and not good at maintaining them.”
However, a Pew Research Center report shows that there is an urban-rural divide among Americans regarding ride-hailing usage. According to Pew’s findings, 19 percent of Americans living in rural America use ride-hailing apps, while in urban and suburban America, those numbers are 45 and 40 percent, respectively. In urban areas, 19 percent of users take Ubers weekly, while in rural areas it’s just 5 percent.
The theory is that ride-hailing is a gateway to subscription-based mobility, which, paired with self-driving cars, is supposed to be the transportation of the future. A report by Research and Markets stated that now