Why You Shouldn’t Be Mad About This Car-Sharing App For The 1%

It just got a little bit easier for residents of a fancy Manhattan apartment building to get around the Big Apple. But don’t be jealous: This could be the start of something good for all of us.

General Motors on Thursday announced a new car-sharing service called Let’s Drive NYC. It will allow residents of the Ritz Plaza (groan) to access vehicles in 200 garages around Manhattan. They’ll get three hours of driving time for free every month and then pay under $10 an hour for additional time.

While this is a remarkably specific product aimed at a high-end clientele (one-bedroom units in the Ritz Plaza start at $3,750 a month), the program may expand to other locations — you know, where the rest of us live.

The idea here is that our personal transportation can be more efficient. Rather than leaving a car parked in your garage for most of the day, you can give up the idea of owning one and just grab a ride whenever you need it. Think Uber and Zipcar. GM’s new program is pretty similar to the latter, which bills itself as a convenient alternative to traditional car rentals, but Let’s Drive stands apart in that it serves an intimate population. Imagine if your apartment building, workplace or neighborhood adopted something similar.

A report published Monday by the McKinsey Center for Business and Environment describes that urban mobility is at a tipping point — car ownership is becoming a burden not just on our cities, but also on our planet. Projections show that car ownership will double in the next 15 years, which could lead to more packed streets and damage to the environment. One of the solutions to the problem is car-sharing technology like GM’s Let’s Drive NYC.

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