The need to entice drivers out of their cars

I consider myself a conscious citizen and wish to stop using my car and sell it as soon as I find a suitable alternative. In any case, the freedom it affords is fairly limited these days due to Covid-19 restrictions. It also helps that my car is starting to experience the issues common to all ageing machines, and I’m getting to be on first name terms with my local mechanic.

The race is now on to be the greenest, cleanest and most community-friendly society. EU policies on achieving emissions goals are getting tougher and more ambitious all the time. Cities are pedestrianizing their centers and imposing tolls and taxes on fuels and cars; smaller municipalities are also raising parking prices and tolls. At the same time, motorists’ lobbies demand free parking spaces in public transport hubs to cope with it all, and climate change deniers claim an attack against personal freedoms. And the strangest thing of all is, I find myself able to sympathize with them all…

Disincentivizing car ownership basically works by making it increasingly inconvenient and, therefore, less appealing for new buyers or leasers, but these measures should also work on existing drivers. So are we enticing drivers out of their cars or aren’t we?

Well, there are also initiatives from transit agencies, MaaS platforms and providers, municipalities and regional and national authorities focusing on offering those drivers convenient, affordable and reliable alternatives, like better public transport services and infrastructure, new mobility modes, bike racks, lanes and secure parking, etc.

The hardest places to implement these gentler approaches, however, are peri-urban areas with a low population density. Here, funding is a major issue due to low demand for public transit and, therefore, low revenue to sustain operational costs of alternative modes of transport to the car.

That’s why Shotl is aiming to save the day by adding greater convenience and bridging the gap between public transport and private vehicles through shared demand-responsive transit. We’re hopeful our solution will be enticing enough to persuade drivers like me to get rid of our cars once and for all. Together we can make it happen!

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