Lyft and separate

Says the guy at Lyft: “By 2025, private car ownership will all but end in major U.S. cities.”

James Lileks demurs: “That’s 9 years away. Let me just put down a marker here and say no.”

And there are perfectly understandable reasons to say no. Says the guy at Lyft:

Cities of the future must be built around people, not vehicles. They should be defined by communities and connections, not pavement and parking spots. They need common spaces where culture can thrive — and where new ideas can be shared in the very places where cars previously stood parked and empty.

Not happening, says Lileks:

Now, I’m all in favor of replacing surface parking lots downtown with housing and offices, providing they build ramps to accommodate the cars driven by private citizens. In nine years I am not going to Lyft or Uber to work, or to shopping in the evening or weekends. I will drive because I like to. The suburbs are not going to do away with the parking lots outside of malls and big-box stores, and build big apartment buildings where Culture Can Thrive. If everyone sells their cars and the streets no longer have parked cars, no one is going to drag a chair into the street and SHARE NEW IDEAS where cars “previously stood parked and empty.” There are no new ideas that are going unshared because there’s a parking lot on the edge of downtown.

Magical thinking, informed by Lyft’s need to keep the vulture capitalists happy, and reinforced by nonsense like this:

Technology has redefined entire industries around a simple reality: you no longer need to own a product to enjoy its benefits. With Netflix and streaming services, DVD ownership became obsolete. Spotify has made it unnecessary to own CDs and MP3s.

Yeah, right, says Lileks:

Until you don’t have a connection or the service goes away or the studio removes the movie.

Or, to use another example, you are inexplicably blacklisted from using the Lyft fleet for reasons they do not explain, and cannot be appealed.

Yeah, it costs me more than two grand a year to keep a motor vehicle for my own use. But that’s the point: it’s for my own use. And I resent the idea that I need to throw in my lot with the Social Arbiters for the sake of some nebulous “civic” good that mostly benefits corporations with connections.


  1. fillyjonk »

    25 September 2016 · 5:47 pm

    And what happens in, say, a big coastal city when a major, major storm is threatening, evacuations are recommended and there aren’t enough Lyft drivers willing to risk their lives (even with “congestion” pricing) to get everyone out? (Yes: public transportation, but as I remember, Sandy shut down the subway system pretty fast).

    One thing being a single adult has taught me: you don’t want to depend on anyone to save your life in an emergency situation*, ‘cos they’re gonna be too busy saving their own lives or those of their blood relatives.

    (*Or even certain non-emergency situations)

    That said: I think “ALL BUT end” is definitely a weasel phrase in this.

  2. McG »

    26 September 2016 · 8:04 am

    Well, the “but” obviously refers to Lyft drivers, who need their own vehicles if they’re be in control of everyone else’s movements.

  3. Jay »

    26 September 2016 · 9:01 am

    Boiling down Lyft’s position: “Government has to do this to the cities and suburbs, so our business plan will grow.” And with all the talk about automated, driverless cars, I suspect Lyft sees and wants a future where they own all the (automated) cars.

  4. nightfly »

    27 September 2016 · 4:24 pm

    Darn shootin’. The one thing that has kept me Kindle-free, and hanging on to physical copies of things on CDs and DVDs, is this fear – nope, citizen, you may not listen to this or read that any more, it is Not Approved for the Likes of You. Considering how quickly open platforms are devolving into this everywhere, I do not think I am paranoid on this point.

  5. CGHill »

    27 September 2016 · 5:21 pm

    Here’s to a lifetime of unruliness.

  6. ETat »

    27 September 2016 · 11:40 pm

    Finally, something I can wholeheartedly support!
    Lifetime of unruliness. Sounds awesome.

  7. A toast to end this day | Скрипучая беседка »

    27 September 2016 · 11:45 pm

    […] Here’s to a lifetime of unruliness! […]

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