By Micheline Maynard
Let me explain what I mean. For the past century, until about 2007, there was a pretty simple way that we used automobiles. We went out and bought them, or some of us leased them. If you wanted a car at your beck and call, you plunked down your money, and parked one on the street or in a garage.
There were rental car companies, but the fee structure was such that it eventually was cheaper just to buy a car than to rent one. You could pay in a week for a rental what a car cost to own for a month.
The door cracked open in 2007, when ZipCar came along. Now, you didn’t have to rent for a week, or a weekend, or even a day. You could use a ZipCar for a few hours, then take it back.
Now, you don’t even have to take some car sharing cars back. Nor do you have to go anywhere to find transportation. You simply summon it, use it as long as you like, and go wherever you like.
The app that is leading the way in this change is Uber, and it promises to transform the way we get around in the way that the automobile did a century ago. There’s a fascinating look at how this is happening by Kevin Roose in New York Magazine. Continue reading