Random Thoughts – Car Sales, Lost BMW, Uber, Christmas Travel, Volkswagen


Random Thoughts – Car Sales, Lost BMW, Uber, Christmas Travel, Volkswagen

Correspondent Mark reports in a message headed “Premature Speculation” that car sales in the US in 2016 are the highest ever and feels that the death of driving and the rise of the autonomous car is greatly overstated.  My contacts in the parking industry have been saying that for months. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it will be coming, but folks will still want their own car and refuse to give up complete control of their lives just yet. If you really want something to worry about, the same article said the average price of a car in 2016 was just north of $35,000. Yikes.

Astrid over at Parknews reports that someone in the UK ‘lost’ a friends BMW at a rock concert in Manchester, UK. Seems this chap borrowed the car, drove to the concert, parked, and then couldn’t find the car after the event. Knowing how these concerts go, I’m not surprised. However the deal was that the car was lost for six months. The article quotes the cop that found it that the parking fee will be around $7500.  My only thought was just how well was this lot managed that a car could sit there for six months and not be noticed. Sigh.

A ’study’ by Cornell University said that if New York City had 2000 Uber style vehicles running on “Uber pool” then 85% of the taxis could be removed from the streets of Manhattan. Of course the Uber Pool vehicles would have to be 10 passenger vans which means that people would have to hang out with strangers and visit all sorts of places before getting to their Tony restaurant or club. Give me a break. Not only would New Yorkers never stand for that, but no sentient being would. The reason Uber works is that it is cheap, and quick, and takes you where you want to go. Leave it to the pointy headed academics to try to ruin another great idea.

Speaking of Uber, a friend returned from a Christmas trip and flew into LAX.  After she got her bags she had to go outside, take the escalator to the upper deck to catch Uber. She told me that when she passed the taxi rank there was no one waiting for a taxi (9 PM on New Year’s Day). However, when she got to the Uber/Lyft Pick up spot, there were 200 people working their phones, trying to contact their ride. She said it took 25 minutes for the car to arrive. I asked why she didn’t take a taxi – the fare would have been about $15 more but she would have been home an hour sooner. Forehead slap time. She didn’t think of it. Uber is locked into our brains.

Volkswagen Financial has acquired Pay by Phone. That’s the arm of Volkswagen that handles leases and financial dealings when you buy the car. I’m not sure what this all means in the end, but I can’t help thinking that one could buy a Volkswagen Beetle and pay for it by your phone. Now that’s convenience.

Condo Owners in Chicago are renting out unused parking spaces that came with their condos Airbnb style. Seems like a reasonable idea to me. A company called ParqEx is connecting the space owners with drivers needing parking. A local wag noted that the City of Chicago would probably not be collecting tax on the spaces. I don’t think one should worry. The government seems to have an unerring ability to collect monies due. Even in Chicago.


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John Van Horn

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