Ridesharing is a hot topic these days. For the uninitiated, this service is similar to hailing a cab in that it provides transportation from one place to the next. But ridesharing differs from cab service in that the drivers are local residents using their own vehicles.
Convenience is one of ridesharing’s key draws. Arranging a ride is handled simply and quickly by using a smartphone app. For those who live in areas with lots of rideshare drivers, it’s often possible to get a pickup within 10 minutes of making the request. And once the trip is over and the rider has arrived at the destination, there’s no need to exchange cash or hand over a credit card. Both the payment and the tip are handled securely via the rideshare app.
Two of the biggest service providers in ridesharing are Uber and Lyft. Each of these companies has a broad reach that spans cities large and small across the nation. Whether riders are living in New York City or Kalamazoo, Uber and Lyft have drivers at the ready to get them to their destination.
Some people who use Uber and Lyft are car owners who find ridesharing advantageous in certain circumstances. Others are people who’ve chosen to embrace a car-free lifestyle.
Here are 10 reasons a ridesharing service like Uber or Lyft is better than driving, listed in alphabetical order.
Better for the Environment
Global warming is something that’s a big concern for many people. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the rising temperatures that come with climate change have caused more intense heatwaves and stronger, wetter hurricanes. Due to hotter temperatures, some parts of the country have seen an increased incidence of wildfires and reduced agricultural yields.
Greenhouse gases play a large role in global warming, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that 27% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector. Passenger cars are major culprits. According to the EPA, the typical passenger vehicle emits 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year.
Whether it’s used in lieu of car ownership or to pool multiple riders in the same vehicle, ridesharing can result in fewer vehicles on our streets. This reduces greenhouse gas emissions and takes less of a toll on the environment.
Better for Traffic
According to transportation analytics company INRIX, the U.S. city with the most traffic congestion is Los Angeles, and those who’ve spent time there will have no problem believing this assertion. INRIX reports that drivers in Los Angeles spent 102 hours in congestion in 2017. Other cities that made the top 10 include New York City, San Francisco, Atlanta, and Miami.
Large cities like Los Angeles aren’t the only ones that fall prey to traffic snarls. Rush hour can have the effect of bringing traffic to a crawl, even in quiet suburban communities and small rural towns.
Services like Uber and Lyft make it possible for groups of riders to travel in the same vehicle. This can reduce the number of cars on the road and improve the flow of traffic.
Discourages Distracted Driving
Distracted driving kills. It claimed 3,450 lives in 2016, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and resulted in 391,000 injuries in 2015.
Automotive technology has made it more likely for people to drive while distracted. With their touchscreens and endless gadgetry, most new cars come with equipment that can tempt drivers into diverting their focus from the road while they’re behind the wheel.
Riders with Uber and Lyft can use a rideshare app to rate their drivers. Drivers know that if they drive while distracted, it could hurt their rating, and a lower rating could reduce their income.
Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are structured to discourage distracted driving. The same structures aren’t in place for drivers who are piloting their own vehicles.
Ditching car ownership in favor of ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft makes it possible to avoid having to deal with things like car maintenance. (Pexels)
Let’s take a minute to consider all the responsibilities that go along with car ownership. The car’s registration must be kept current and smog tests are required in many regions. Regular maintenance is necessary to keep the car running at its best. If a part breaks, it has to be fixed or replaced. And if there’s major or minor damage due to an accident, the vehicle has to be taken to a body shop for repairs.
Drivers can say goodbye to all of these worries by ditching their cars and using rideshare services like Uber and Lyft to get from point A to point B. These services offer convenient transportation with no strings attached.
Makes Commutes Less Stressful
Driving is more stressful than most people may realize. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), nearly 80% of drivers express significant anger, aggression, or road rage during their commute.
This can include things such as purposefully tailgating, yelling at another driver, cutting another vehicle off on purpose, or trying to block another vehicle from changing lanes. In the most extreme cases, drivers may bump or ram another vehicle on purpose or get out of their car to confront another driver.
Needless to say, these problems aren’t an issue for those in the passenger seat of an Uber or Lyft vehicle. Ridesharing is a surefire way to take the stress out of daily commutes.
Might Be Cheaper Than Owning a Car
There are many variables associated with the cost of car ownership, and the total expense can vary from situation to situation. Still, a 2018 internet trends report by venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers suggests that, on average, using a ridesharing service like Uber could be cheaper than owning a car for those who live in New York City, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and Chicago.
The report considers expenses related to vehicle maintenance, insurance, gas, and parking. According to the report, the weekly cost of owning a car in New York City is $218. The report claims that using Uber for transportation in the Big Apple – including getting to and from work – would incur a weekly cost of just $142.
May Reduce Alcohol- and Drug-impaired Driving
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 29 people in the U.S. die each day from a crash involving a drunk driver. Drugs other than alcohol are involved in about 16% of motor vehicle crashes.
The tricky thing about alcohol and drugs is that they can seriously impair a driver’s judgment. It can be all too easy for drivers to assume their ability to pilot a vehicle hasn’t been affected by a few drinks. In many drunk-driving situations, though, this assumption is wrong, and the outcome can be tragic.
Using rideshare services like Uber and Lyft during nights on the town can prevent alcohol- and drug-impaired driving and make our streets safer.
May Reduce Fatigued Driving
The drowsy driving monitoring system is one of the most exciting new driver-assist features to come along in recent years. By observing a driver’s behavior, this amenity is able to determine if someone is driving while fatigued, and then recommend that he or she take a break.
The fact that this technology exists indicates that driving while fatigued is a serious problem. Someone who’s driving while tired and exhausted is more likely to make choices that could result in an accident.
The simplest way to avoid driving while fatigued is to have someone else do the driving. Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft make this possible.
No Parking Worries
Parking is an inescapable part of driving, and it can quickly drain a car owner’s time. According to a report published by INRIX, U.S. drivers spend an average of 17 hours each year searching for a parking spot. In large metropolitan areas like New York City and Los Angeles, the amount of time spent hunting for parking far exceeds this average. Each New Yorker, for example, spends a whopping 107 hours each year trying to find a parking space.
Uber and Lyft riders don’t have to worry about parking. Ridesharing services make it possible to remove this painful step from the transportation process.
Opens Up More Time for Getting Things Done
Many of us log more hours behind the wheel than we realize. According to AAA, on average, Americans spend more than 290 hours behind the wheel each year. This is equal to seven 40-hour weeks at the office.
Car owners who are driving need to focus completely on the road ahead, but those who are riding in an Uber or Lyft vehicle are free to focus on whatever they choose. This opens up more time for getting things done.
By opting to skip driving in favor of ridesharing, riders can use time spent in the backseat to tackle tasks like answering emails, completing work-related projects, catching with friends, or other activities.
The Bottom Line
Driving your own vehicle provides convenient transportation. But ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft can be just as convenient, and they come with fewer risks and hassles.