My family of five was shuttled around New York city last year by Uber and I left asking myself why would I ever need to drive my own car in Manhattan again. I invited friends and family to install the app in exchange for trip credits. Last month, a friend returned from India where he says that Uber drivers there are giving Rickshaws a run for their money. Now, here at home, I am seriously considering getting in on providing ride-sharing trips myself as an Uber driver (my daily commutes are valued at about $120 if I had to pay an Uber driver). If there are folks going my way, why not give them a ride so that they help cover my gas and upkeep costs?
So is the taxi model still viable? Quick answer: NO! The world is rapidly changing and if we are to believe technology companies… none of us will need a personal car that on average spends over 90% of the time in a parking spot. Car companies like Tesla and GM are acquiring their own ride-sharing technologies and the race to develop self-driving cars reminds me of the race to send a man to the moon. It will happen, and when it does, only the fleet owners will be making money as each driver will be replaced by a few billion transistors (give or take).
We’ll look back at this weekend’s NBA All-Star events in Toronto not because of the dunk contest, but because of the attention the Taxi industry brings to its final demise. So buckle up and enjoy the ride. Better yet, take public transit.