Thursday, December 12, 2013

Upcoming Experiments: Uber and TIMECAR

The last week has been great for Carless in OKC. We've seen a steep increase in views, and have received many great comments from people in the area who are interested in the idea of being less dependent on motor vehicles. In the upcoming two week we'll be doing a couple of experiments to test out alternative methods of getting around town.

1. Uber

Uber is an application that claims to be a more affordable option than taking a taxi, and it's here in OKC! I know that many people are already using the service, and would love to hear feedback on your experiences. I've plotted a route from our home to Penn Square Mall, and Uber has quoted a fare of $12 to $13. That's a distance of 4.75 miles. The major difference I see in Uber and taxis is how the fare is calculated with taxis being based solely upon mileage and Uber being based upon time under a certain speed (11 mph) and distance above this threshold.

A taxi would charge $2.75 as a base rate, with a $1 extra rider fee, and then $0.25 for every 1/8th of a mile. So, that adds up to $13.25 before tip. I'll be interested to see what the charge for Uber ends up being since there doesn't seem to be much of a difference between the two in the math. On the Uber OKC blog there is the claim that it is 20% cheaper than a taxi.. so I guess the best way to test this will be to take one form to the mall and the other one on the way back.

We will report back with a comparison of convenience, cost, reliability, and more.


The owner of TIMECAR in OKC has reached out to us, and we plan to try the system out soon. From their website, "TIMECAR is a membership-based car sharing service that provides 24/7 access to vehicles on an hourly and daily basis..." 

Car sharing is a great alternative to car ownership, and unlike Uber, you can actually drive the car. It does require you to have a driver's license, but all of the costs of the car are rolled into an hourly or daily rate. The main difference I see between this service and traditional car rental services is the membership aspect, which can greatly increase convenience and reduce hidden costs.

While these services are potentially very convenient and a good alternative to car ownership, I will be looking into studies to determine what the impact upon the number of cars on the road these services have. Because that is what is most important in pushing this city forward in terms of alternative transportation methods, reducing the need to use a car by creating affordable access to different modes of transportation and walkable/bikeable communities that are self-sufficient.

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