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October 27, 2016

I’m a Millennial, My Preferences Matter

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I don’t want to be another conceited Millennial, but cities should embrace ridesharing apps because I can’t function without them.

Although I am originally from the Motor City and have a parent who works for the automotive industry, I’m not interested in owning a car. The last worry I want to have in my “extremely complicated 22-year-old life,” is finding a parking spot…That’s why I heavily rely on public transit and ridesharing services to get around D.C.

Why would I own a car if I could have the same experience without the associated burdens? I’m not the only one who thinks this way…a majority of my Millennial friends feel the same! It’s easy, efficient and cost effective. Young people are waiting to make large investments on big ticket items like cars and houses till later in life. But, this perplexes older generations. The success of business models driven by access, rather than individual ownership, disrupts American consumerism. While some companies and policymakers have chosen to embrace this change, others continue to resist it.

My biggest concern is how city and state governments are treating ridesharing services like competitors instead of partners. Policymakers are forcing the sharing economy to comply with legislation that uproots the exact principles contributing to its success: ease and efficiency. As a result, these companies are fighting numerous legal battles in cities across the country. It makes people like me, who depend on them, worried about their longevity. The best cities are the ones who can effectively service their constituents. Ridesharing apps are not a threat to cities. In fact, they actually mitigate transit deficiencies and dissipate constituent dissatisfaction.

Recently, Safe Track, a maintenance plan to repair the DC Metro system, has inconvenienced thousands of commuters over the past few months. It’s caused delays, reduced service hours and longer weekend wait times. I know I cannot depend on the metro during off-peak hours and do not even think twice about calling Uber or Lyft in these scenarios.

It’s unrealistic, and simultaneously unfair, to ignore what constituents want and need by regulating the sharing economy out of cities. The truth is no city transportation system is going to be perfect, which is why alternative forms of service are crucial. So cities must be willing to create policies that benefit the sharing economy or prepare for the fallout.

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