In an article about the future of ridesharing, a Lyft leader was asked about the impact of autonomous vehicles. She said that autonomous cars could not be everywhere and that companies like Lyft would still want clients to schedule their rides in advance. “If you’re going to use a car 4 percent of the time and it’s autonomous and could be used the other 96 percent of the time, that feels less likely that the model will be true personal ownership.”

Maybe decades from now when you can be guaranteed have a car come get you instantly, people won’t feel the need to possess a vehicle. But her comments reminded me of an old Mr. Goodwrench commercial slogan that has always stuck with me: “It’s not just a car, it’s your freedom.”

Sure, I could schedule times when I need a car, but I think of all the other times where I drove places unexpectedly. I “ran out” to pick something up when a need suddenly occurred. I went to another store spontaneously after I finished my first planned errand. I decided to go out for dinner instead of eating at home. There are countless times that I was glad I could just jump in my car and go.

Most people place a high value on freedom and autonomy. The more you require scheduling, the more you impose constrictions that eventually take their toll, not just with car-sharing, but with other limits and forced boundaries.

Try to give people as much latitude and choice as you can. It’s not just their ___ (task, menu, clothing, fill-in-the-blank), it’s their freedom.

Source: Insider Q&A: What’s next for ride-hailing? Interview with Tali Rapaport, Vice president of product at Lyft, interviewed by Tom Krisher, Telegraph Herald, February 4, 2018, p. 5D.

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