Reader Question: Ride-Sharing?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply! 

Karen writes: You seem to be opposed to ride-sharing, which surprises me given your advocacy of living within your means. Not everyone needs a car – or wants a car payment. I’m 23 – and not exactly rolling in dough!

Curious to know your thoughts on all this.

My reply: I’m not opposed to ride-sharing as such anymore than I’m opposed to electric cars or even communism (so long as the communists leave me out of it). The beef I’ve got is with the diseases of which these things are merely the symptoms.

I get that cars have become unaffordable; but the problem there isn’t the cars. It’s the unaffordable part. I doubt many of the people who like the idea of ride-sharing would like it if they could afford their own car instead. Even in the best-case scenario, ride-sharing means perpetual payments; you never own your transportation. It only seems “cheaper” relative to the high cost of cars today.

I’m twice your age. When I was 23, I bought a ’74 Beetle for $700 – cash money. I drove that car for years; it cost me next to nothing to own it. Far less than it would have cost me to sign up for ride-sharing a dozen or more times  each week.

There is also the cost in time. You will wait for your ride. Unless they invent Star Trek-style teleportation tech. How much is you irreplaceable time worth?

If you have a car, you can just get in – and go.

In sum: I see ride-sharing in the same light as I do automated cars. Both represent a waning of mobility – sold as a waxing thereof.

It’s analogous to the con that government-corporate enforced medical treatment will cost less than each of us paying our own way.

If you buy that, I have a bridge for sale….

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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3 COMMENTS

  1. “There is also the cost in time. You will wait for your ride. Unless they invent Star Trek-style teleportation tech. How much is you irreplaceable time worth?

    If you have a car, you can just get in – and go.”

    The sheep now prefer “CON-venience” as opposed to simple convenience simply because the latter would require “too much” critical thinking.

  2. Karen, do you work? It’s tough to have a job and no ride. I’m 69 but it seems like yesterday when I was a third that age. I’d been driving unaccompanied for 11 years by then so it’s hard for me to identify with you but times have certainly changed and not one damn thing for the better as I see it.

    I was legally an adult when 18 so I often drove a truck. Ok, I drove a truck for years before I was 18 and since it was a family bidness the law had to look the other way. A guy I work with got his commercial license at 14 on a hard-ship type thing(we had those in Texas but probably not any longer).

    But 23 rings a bell with me since that’s the year I bought my very own first big rig. I roamed the highways and byways of this nation to the tune of about 50,000 miles per quarter. I can’t think of anything I learned I didn’t learn the hard way.

    I have a young friend who bought his first big rig when he was 24 and he’s always on the road, just like I was. Some things don’t change a great deal. Good luck with being poor at that age. There may be a good reason for it but it might be because you aren’t considering all your options.

    I hope your financial situation changes for you soon. Your mindset about not owning a car will change when you can afford one or either need one.

    • 8S, as soon as I could afford a car, I got one! I didn’t get one till I was 21, but even prior to that, I had my own transportation. When I was younger, I had a bicycle and rode literally EVERYWHERE; I had no problem staying thin in those days! Towards the end of HS, I got a moped from my uncle, and this expanded my mobility more.

      Then I joined the Navy. It didn’t make SENSE to get a car until I was 21, nor did I really NEED one until then. That said, I felt empowered and free to have a car of my own! I haven’t been without one since, and I can’t envision a time when I won’t have a car… 🙂

      Unfortunately, it’s becoming ever more difficult and a PITA to own one nowadays vs. 30+ years ago.

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