Yesterday, I had a frustrating experience with a ride-sharing service, which highlights one of the problems not yet overcome.

I live in the suburbs, albeit in a fairly dense part of the suburbs and near the airport, so it’s a little hit or miss how long it will take to catch a ride with a ridesharing service.

Yesterday afternoon I had an important meeting in the city, so I hailed my ride about twenty minutes before I needed to.

Unhappily, my ride to 25 minutes to show up. And guess what? I arrived to my important meeting 5 minutes late.

In retrospect, I should have just cancelled the ride and hopped in my car. Even more unhappily for me, however, the ride sharing service and I were both wrong about that 25 minute pick-up delay. On the map it looked like the driver was 5 minutes away, and the ride-sharing service was 5 minutes away. The map was not yet accounting for a recent accident, however.

So the big problem here is that waiting for a ride in the suburbs is still a little dicier than just hopping in your own car. In the cities, you would think this problem has been solved, but I’m not sure that’s true either.

On the way home from my important meeting, I had a long wait for my ride, while one driver cancelled the trip and another one had to do some navigational contortions to get to the correct side of the street.

These problems seem solvable, perhaps just by offering more money to be retrieved sooner, but the system isn’t quite there yet. And that’s a reason to keep owning a car, at least for now.

Originally published at www.davidincalifornia.com on December 19, 2015.

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