Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Future of Transportation of Chatham

If names of companies like, I-GO, Zipcar, Divvy, Sidecar, Lyft, Uber all sound foreign to you., don't worry because soon they won't. While public transportation will not go away.

Private services will see a dramatic change as the old transportation models are being turned upside down. Companies such as I-GO and Zipcar are involved in carsharing. Carsharing is defined by wikipedia as is a model of car rental where people rent cars for short periods of time, often by the hour. They are attractive to customers who make only occasional use of a vehicle, as well as others who would like occasional access to a vehicle of a different type than they use day-to-day. While there are 100s of companies involved in car sharing I-GO and Zipcar are the clear leaders in Chicago and I-GO will be operational in Chatham in approximately 30 days. shuttle_service

For those who like to ride bikes but are outraged at the cost of a decent bicycle or the low quality of cheaper bicycles, then there is Divvy Bikes  for you. Divvy is a bike sharing program that follows the carsharing model.  For $7 a day you can have the use of a bicycle where you can pick it up at one station and drop it off at another. The program has been endorsed by the City of Chicago and has its share of controversy. bike rackThe bicycle racks are long and large and in many communities are on the street and take up parking spaces. Several businesses have threatened lawsuits as they feel these bike racks have negatively affected their business. On the far southside that includes Chatham, the service is being marketed via billboards and CTA bus shelters but the service is not currently available. The service appears to work best in communities that are "bike friendly" and have streetscapes that encourage bicycles(i.e. sidewalk bike racks,etc). Right now, Chatham doesn't currently have sidewalk bike racks and the placement of these racks needs to be discussed.

 The private driving business(taxicabs, limos, party buses, airport transportation) is seeing a dramatic shift in their business. The days of  checker and yellow cab are long gone and new national tech driven companies are entering the market. Companies such as Sidecar, Lyft, and Uber are technology driven companies that use smartphone technology to match those who need a ride with private individuals who are willing to offer rides. Ride sharing is not new to Chicago in various parts of the city Livery services offer ridesharing, most are small and are not always professional. The most famous ridesharing service is the "Jitney" service that exist along King Drive on the southside. The Jitney service was most popular in the 1960-70's when bus service was not very good and the private services that exist today were not available. Both Lyft and Sidecar are strictly peer to peer ride sharing services.  Uber is a peer to peer ridesharing service but does offer to match taxis, limo drivers and others with individuals who need a ride. In Chatham, King Drive Cab Affiliation also known as Abernathy or Jiffy Cab is the oldest African American owned taxi service in the city of Chicago. While these new competitors are entering the market, it doesn't mean traditional taxi companies will go out of business. The taxi business is embrassing technology. The taxi industry has a smartphone app called Hailo that offers riders the same advantages as the ridesharing companies.

 So consumers have more choices to get around the city. What will you choose?

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