If you’re like me, you remember very vividly getting your first car. It represented freedom to go wherever I wanted to go whenever I wanted to go there. Fill the seats with family or friends and head for someplace fun. Getting a new ride is still exciting but it’s become really expensive, and that’s why the concept of “mobility as a service,” or MaaS, is fast-growing alternative to individuals owning their personal transportation.
We found a great definition from the Maas Alliance:
“The aim of MaaS is to provide an alternative to the use of the private car that may be as convenient, more sustainable, help to reduce congestion and constraints in transport capacity, and can be even cheaper.”
If you’ve hopped a ride in an Uber or Lyft, you’ve used a form of MaaS. But MaaS is much more than ride sharing. Car sharing services like GM’s Maven match people who want to rent out their Chevy, GMC, Buick or Cadillac vehicles when they’re not using them to folks who need some wheels for a short time. If you don’t need a car all the time, that’s a lot less expensive than buying one.
We also discovered a new form of MaaS through a company based in Los Angeles called HyreCar. Not limited to General Motors brands, it’s a bit like online matchmaker sites–only the purpose is to make connections between people who want to make their cars available when they’re not using them, with folks who’d like to be rideshare drivers, but have no rides of their own. We read in a Forbes.com story that auto dealers are now taking advantage of companies like HyreCar to earn some money on cars just sitting on their lots by making them available to rideshare drivers. You might think the dealers are costing themselves business by doing this, but not really. Folks renting the vehicles temporarily this way, weren’t in positions to buy their own vehicles anyway. So it’s a new revenue stream for dealers.
The bottom line is, people just need convenient, and affordable ways to get around. Depending on where you live, public transportation just may not be available or have routes that meet your needs.
Here in the Motor City, we love our cars and pickups, SUVs and crossovers and our economy has long depended on them. But as the affordability of new personal vehicles becomes more challenging for many consumers, the industry is discovering that mobility as a service is a creative way to both bolster its bottom line and still provide folks with reliable rides.
Will there be a day when teenagers who finally earn their drivers licenses don’t lust after that first car? Probably not. But the time is already here when for some, their first ride with their friends to a party or concert without their parents, is a ride share.
Tina Sullivan is the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Franco. Contact Tina at [email protected].