Ride-hailing technology has dramatically altered the transportation landscape. More changes and disruptions are still taking place and will define the future of the industry in the years ahead.
What are the changes that will further solidify ride-hailing’s legacy? Below are some of these key trends.
Public transportation will look to compete
The success of ride-hailing companies highlighted serious gaps in public transit systems. Passengers are no longer willing to settle for long-standing transportation problems. Whether it’s crowded passenger cars, long waiting times or fickle cab drivers.
In many ways, booking a ride through a smartphone or other mobile device is significantly more convenient. On the part of ride-hailing companies, technology-based fleet management solutions make it very efficient to manage thousands of vehicles and drivers simultaneously.
City officials already know this and are looking for opportunities to become more competitive. For instance, cities like Boston are exploring ways to improve public transportation. Additionally, officials are looking to integrate best practices from ride-hailing.
The hope is that this will provide passengers with more transportation options — not just limited to Uber, Lyft or other private modes.
Ride-hailing will further expand into new locations
Initially, ride-hailing services were limited to heavily urbanized areas. But as it increasingly becomes the norm, on-demand transportation will expand further into a variety of cities and regions.
Even cities without public transportation will benefit from ride-hailing. A good example is Arlington, Texas. The city was previously tagged as the largest US city without public transportation.
A partnership with Via — a ride-sharing company that offers mass transport services — is enabling Arlington to overcome its public transportation challenges. Unlike Uber or Lyft, Via focuses entirely on shared rides. Its platform reveals designated pick-up points and drop-off points for passengers, much like a regular bus or van service.
This example offers a glimpse of the evolution of public transportation in the era of ride-hailing. Each city or region will adopt the technology based on its unique context and existing public transit infrastructure.
Vehicle ownership will continue dwindling
According to data from Refinitiv Datastream, car registrations in the U.S. have been declining since 2015. With the adoption of ride-hailing technologies throughout the private and public sector, it will increasingly become difficult to justify vehicle ownership.
Experts compare this phenomenon with the decline in usage of discs in the music industry. Before, it was commonplace for people to go out of their way to purchase music in a physical record shop. Whereas now, digital platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube are upending decades of reliance on cassette tapes and CDs.
Observers speculate that there might come a time when having a car is just not financially sustainable anymore. With more ride-hailing options, people may find better use of garage space. And as alternative transportation options pop-up, buying fuel and maintaining a vehicle may eventually become too expensive to do.
As ride-hailing continues to disrupt entire economies, entrepreneurs and public officials will find ways to adapt. Whether they are successful or not, the technology will continue opening up new modes of traveling.