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Transportation Businesses The Almighty Buck Technology

GM Dumps $500 Million Into Lyft (nytimes.com) 129

An anonymous reader writes: General Motors has invested $500 million in ride-sharing service Lyft, and also committed resources to develop an on-demand network of autonomous cars. "GM will also work with Lyft to set up a series of short-term car rental hubs across the United States, places where people who do not own cars can pick up a vehicle and drive for Lyft to earn money." Lyft thinks the future of self-driving cars is in a network of vehicles people share, rather than individual ownership. GM, which produces millions of automobiles every year, seems to agree. The money will help Lyft compete with competitor Uber, which has raised over $10 billion in investments already. "The alliance with GM is surprising because automakers could consider ride-hailing companies like Lyft as long-term threats to auto sales. In an interview, [GM president Daniel Ammann] said that GM wanted to be part of the changing business models in transportation."
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GM Dumps $500 Million Into Lyft

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  • shouldn't they change the name to Drop.....
    • Personally, I was thinking that if Lyft partners with GM, then GM needs to seriously revamp their MPG and quality standards. Cost of ownership of the vehicle comes directly out of the profit margins for the drivers. So it's not surprising in the least that Uber and Lyft drivers tend to fancy lower cost vehicles like hybrids and such. Sure Uber has an XL services that charges more for larger vehicles in some markets, but focusing on a nice GMC pickup truck that's going to break in a few years isn't the most
      • by tsqr ( 808554 )

        So it's not surprising in the least that Uber and Lyft drivers tend to fancy lower cost vehicles like hybrids and such.

        Wait, what? [cars.com]

        • Oh, I agree. Not all hybrids are the same. My favorite was a GMC Denali, which in hybrid form saved 2 MPG over it's conventional equivalent. Yep, 2 MPG, statistically insignificant. However, my hybrid has more than paid for itself in gas savings over my previous car. I don't get the famed 50+ mpg, but even at 45, with 180K+ miles on it, I've paid for about three of them in the gas that was saved. So it pays to shop around.
          • Even the Denali might have made sense if it was mostly driven in the city. Assuming, that is, that owning a Denali of any type made sense, which I consider doubtful. The overall mileage improvement was only 2 MPG, but that broke down to 1 MPG on the highway and 5 MPG in the city.
        • The money equation for many hybrids can be marginal in typical driving. But an Uber or Lyft driver does not use a car in a typical way. Like taxis, their driving tends to tilt more toward stop-and-go driving where hybrids are at their best. So driving a Prius or other hybrid makes a lot of sense.
  • So Rent a Car ding and dent scam + 1099 work?

    also if the courts say the drivers are W2 then the rent fees can pull them under min wage and if they damage the cars you can't make the driver pay for the cost that pulls them under min wage.

  • Hedging their bets (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Monday January 04, 2016 @01:38PM (#51235797) Journal
    I don't think GM really believes it's 'the future' or anything as blue-sky as that, they're just hedging their bets against the possibility of this combination being viable.
    • GM wanted to be part of the changing business models in transportation."

      How the mighty have fallen.
      Back in the day GM wanted to be part of changing the business models [wikipedia.org] in transportation.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by lgw ( 121541 )

      I don't think GM really believes it's 'the future' or anything as blue-sky as that, they're just hedging their bets against the possibility of this combination being viable.

      They may be hoping it's the future. Perhaps GM, which makes cars no on wants to own [wikipedia.org], is hoping for a future in which individuals don't make buying decisions, and instead just ride in whatever shows up.

      While GM trucks are still popular (GM vs Ford is the redneck version of VI vs EMACS), the cars are mostly popular with rental fleets and government fleets: places where the driver doesn't choose the car (much like Newsweek [journalism.org] is only found in waiting rooms). This business model fits perfectly with that idea.

      • ...instead just ride in whatever shows up.

        Oh boy! That will be one helluva an electric powered, solar charged, driverless rickshaw! Because you don't own it, who care what it looks like or how it rides so long as it gets you from point A to B; amIright?!

        The future sucks.

        • by lgw ( 121541 )

          Oh boy! That will be one helluva an electric powered, solar charged, driverless rickshaw! Because you don't own it, who care what it looks like or how it rides so long as it gets you from point A to B; amIright?!

          This is I think, the majority view of people in college or fresh out, these days. Car ownership just isn't a thing with the new crowd. I'm a car guy, so this baffles me, but in one sense I can see it. Starting with the 50s, cars embodied freedom, but specifically a guy with a car could take his girl to a place away from prying eyes and make out or have sex, so having a good car was a critical social signal. Good car meant more likely to have sex, and that's a hell of a draw in the high school and colleg

          • This is I think, the majority view of people in college or fresh out, these days. Car ownership just isn't a thing with the new crowd. I'm a car guy, so this baffles me, but in one sense I can see it. Starting with the 50s, cars embodied freedom, but specifically a guy with a car could take his girl to a place away from prying eyes and make out or have sex, so having a good car was a critical social signal. Good car meant more likely to have sex, and that's a hell of a draw in the high school and college years.

            Society has changed a lot, of course, and for young people who aren't driving enthusiasts, that social signal is vanishing. A car is seen as just an expensive hassle (even though reliability is vastly higher than cars for the 80s); just a way to get where the bus doesn't run. Well, you can't argue with taste. I don't think any of it will have much effect on the enthusiast car market anyhow: I'm entirely unconcerned with the future evolution of the Camry.

            With college tuition exploding at an uncontrolled rate, all the disposable income that the kids would be spending on cars is going to the banks instead. We are transforming to a society where the majority of people don't own anything. Getting back to the article, this is a smart move by GM. If there will only be car rentals in the future with robot drivers, GM may as well get in on the ground floor of the new business model.

          • They don't need a car to have sex. They can have sex at home. Parental attitudes have changed.
    • this or they are simply going after the fleet market. back in the day they used to make mint selling cars to governments and corporations in bulk and without going through dealers. this is nothing different. and only the most naive dummies will believe that in the future no one will own cars and people will rent everything. i've tried zip car one time. way too expensive. same with uber and lyft. it's only good for dummy 20 somethings who never have time for the boring parts of life and only want to watch n
      • only the most naive dummies will believe that in the future no one will own cars and people will rent everything

        I know what you're talking about, but it's not what you're thinking, either: That's what corporations would like everyone to believe. They may want to convince people that owning vehicles (or houses, or the OS and applicatons on your computer) is old-fashioned and outdated and just not hip and too much trouble and expense, why not let your friends at XYZ Corp worry about all that for you? The younger generation is easier to indoctrinate to these sorts of ideas because among other things they don't know any

    • by jhecht ( 143058 )
      Autonomous cars could be huge in the rental or fleet market. Imagine hopping into a car at the airport that can get you where you want to go while you work or relax without having to cope with hostile traffic.
    • Oil companies over took them for a while, then software companies.
    • Half a billion dollars seems a pretty big hedge, even for GM.

      Then again, these corporations make profits that are hard to conceptualize at times.

  • Prior art? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Monday January 04, 2016 @01:38PM (#51235803)

    "GM will also work with Lyft to set up a series of short-term car rental hubs across the United States, places where people who do not own cars can pick up a vehicle and drive for Lyft to earn money."

    So....taxis?

    • Re:Prior art? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Monday January 04, 2016 @01:52PM (#51235949) Homepage

      No no no .. haven't you been paying attention to what Uber says?

      Taxis are a commercial service, requiring a commercial license, a taxi license, proper insurance and liability.

      This will be random people under no regulations driving you around for a fee.

      See, due to the magical thinking of Uber, a car for hire through an app isn't anything like a taxi and isn't subject to regulations because they say so.

      Nothing at all like a taxi.

      I plan on starting a service called "nothing at all like a lawyer" where for a fee I will show up and defend you in court. Only I'll not know anything about the law, not be covered under any regulations, and bear no professional responsibility, so when your ass gets sent off to prison that's your damned problem.

      I'm also thinking of buying a dremmel tool and branching out into the "nothing at all like a dentist" business. That's probably pretty lucrative too.

      Of course, apparently the real money is in having the app which connects you to a "nothing at all like an X", take a cut, and pretend that you're not really just illegally plying a trade and ignoring the regulations around it. If you can convince enough suckers of this they'll throw billions of dollars at you, apparently.

      • I plan on starting a service called "nothing at all like a lawyer" where for a fee I will show up and defend you in court. Only I'll not know anything about the law, not be covered under any regulations, and bear no professional responsibility, so when your ass gets sent off to prison that's your damned problem.

        and the judge sends you to jail for contempt of court with maybe a mistrial as well.

        http://www.baltimoresun.com/ne... [baltimoresun.com]

        • Re:Prior art? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Monday January 04, 2016 @02:01PM (#51236039) Homepage

          But but ... my business model says I'm not covered by the regulations, if it works for Uber why not for anything else?

          Or, gasp, maybe Uber is full of shit when they say such things?

          • The obvious issue is that you are the one showing up. Instead you need to write an app that connects people that want to be "nothing at all like a lawyer" with people who are willing be defended by those. You get a cut of all fees of course, regardless of the outcome of the trial.

            That way, the people actually breaking the any laws or regulations, or having any liability are not you. You are just facilitating two people meeting who are making their own personal arrangements between themselves. Maybe you

            • It usually matters that a lawyer knows how to do their job and someone not trained as a lawyer is exceedingly unlikely to be able to do a competent job.

              Not so with taxis/Ubers/Lyfts or whatever. Everytime I've used Lyft or Uber, the driver has arrived, driven me to my destination, not failed at driving, not exhibited incompetence and not tried to bilk me by taking the wrong route. The trained, regulated and entirely honest taxi drivers I've used seem not to manage to achieve the same levels of competence.

          • Nothing is as powerful as an idea whose crime has come.
        • Which is his point. In today's America a business model out trumps the law. Just like the police can break the law if their training teaches them to do so.
        • That's actually not that bad of an idea. You see, in many cases when you need to hire a lawyer, you don't actually need a lawyer. You just need somebody who knows a specific subset of the law to get you the information you need. In most cases, some kind of paralegal will end up doing a lot of the legwork, while the lawyer signs off on it. It ends up costing a lot because lawyers are required to have a lot of expensive schooling, and it's actually quite hard to become a certified lawyer.

          As time goes on, w

          • Cost != price.
            For the patient getting the treatment there is no difference between a doctor and a nurse. From his point of view the price should be the same.
            The one who has costs is the hospital/pharmacy ... but as they chRge the smae amount regardless who does the shot, it is more a question of how to schedule your resources, not about the education of those.

      • See, due to the magical thinking of Uber, a car for hire through an app isn't anything like a taxi and isn't subject to regulations because they say so.

        Unless, of course, a Taxi company with an app does it, in which case it IS a Taxi. So, according to Uber, if you use Uber's app you are not required to follow the regulations, but anybody else that does the same service, even with an app, is still required to follow the regulations. Well, maybe not Lyft, but everybody else.

        • The difference is Uber provides the service of locating small business X providing ridesharing; TaxiCo provides the service of taxi, and hires employees as operators.

          If anything, Uber connects you to thousands of independently-operated taxi businesses.

          • The difference is Uber provides the service of locating small business X providing ridesharing; TaxiCo provides the service of taxi, and hires employees as operators.

            If anything, Uber connects you to thousands of independently-operated taxi businesses.

            Except many taxi companies don't hit ether drivers. Drivers pay a flat fee for use of the cab and dispatch service and need to make enough to cover that and make a profit. The cab companies don't want to get stuck with bunch of cars and expensive medallions that are worth a lot less now then that were pre-Uber and so fight Uber tooth and nail. Drivers don't like it because it costs them money and they may not make enough to cover their cost for the shift.

          • The difference is Uber provides the service of locating small business X providing ridesharing; TaxiCo provides the service of taxi, and hires employees as operators.

            If anything, Uber connects you to thousands of independently-operated taxi businesses.

            No, they are locating small business X which provides taxi/livery services. Ridesharing is something entirely different. You are going to the airport. Somebody else is going to the airport. You agree to both go the airport in the same vehicle and split the costs. In Ride sharing, the maximum amount any one person can pay is 50% of the cost. In a taxi or livery service, the Customer pays 100% of the cost plus some profit, That is what Uber advertises to their drivers. They advertise ridesharing to the gover

      • This will be random people under no regulations driving you around for a fee.

        What if that is all I want. What if I don't care at all if my driver has a taxi license, proper insurance and liability? Why should I as a customer be forced to pay for those things? Heck, I would much rather see great reviews for an uber driver than a taxi license.

        In the land of the free, it should be up to me if I want the extra assurances or not, not up to some bureaucrat sitting in some office hundreds of miles away, because he thinks he knows better and forces me to use the more expensive service

      • Re:Prior art? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by GGardner ( 97375 ) on Monday January 04, 2016 @03:03PM (#51236539)
        You are totally missing the point. The goal is to get $1B in funding to start a service called "nothing at all like a lawyer", were you get other suckers who are not lawyers to represent even bigger suckers in court, and you sit back and take a percentage of all transactions. If the not-lawyers get in trouble with the local courts, hey, that was their decision, and not really your fault. Profit!
      • by haruchai ( 17472 )

        The conviction rate in the USofA is from 60-9+% depending on the jurisdiction which means a lot of asses are sent to prison despite the "vigorous defence" of presumably licensed members of the bar.

      • No no no .. haven't you been paying attention to what Uber says?

        Taxis are a commercial service, requiring a commercial license, a taxi license, proper insurance and liability.

        This will be random people under no regulations driving you around for a fee.

        See, due to the magical thinking of Uber, a car for hire through an app isn't anything like a taxi and isn't subject to regulations because they say so.

        Nothing at all like a taxi.

        I plan on starting a service called "nothing at all like a lawyer" where for a fee I will show up and defend you in court. Only I'll not know anything about the law, not be covered under any regulations, and bear no professional responsibility, so when your ass gets sent off to prison that's your damned problem.

        I'm also thinking of buying a dremmel tool and branching out into the "nothing at all like a dentist" business. That's probably pretty lucrative too.

        Of course, apparently the real money is in having the app which connects you to a "nothing at all like an X", take a cut, and pretend that you're not really just illegally plying a trade and ignoring the regulations around it. If you can convince enough suckers of this they'll throw billions of dollars at you, apparently.

        Nah, start "nothing like a girl friend." It's an old business model ripe for updating...

        • by haruchai ( 17472 )

          And many are already willing to pay extra for the Girlfriend Experience.

          • And many are already willing to pay extra for the Girlfriend Experience.

            Don't forget the surge pricing as well, expensive dinners, gifts and dates when they are in peak demand

      • Here is another one:
        Nothing At All Like a President
        I think the current crop of candidates all fit that description.
        Now all we need is the app!
      • Except uber has made it easier, cleaner, cheaper, and more enjoyable (which you might say counts as "better"), so if you could bring those traits to the services you are describing, then you'd probably have all the business you could handle (you'd have mine). You call people who use these services "suckers", but I fail to see how they are. Yes, they are taking some risk into their own hands. But calling them suckers makes it seem like they are not getting the services for which they are paying. If they wer
    • No silly, these will be out of a HUB not a dispatch call center! That's the difference! How many taxis today are there are operate out of a HUB? It's a totally different business!
    • >So....taxis?

      Sort of. I expect these will try to dodge paying the community for taxi medallions.

      The medallion system has been abused, so I understand why people want to bypass it, but I think they'll find that you can't just bypass the law using technology unless you're an underground business. Even then, it's risky as Ross Ulbricht will attest.
  • If they were smart, they would have offered Lyft drivers incentives on new GM vehicles.
  • A lot of consumer cars are used relatively lightly, so they last a lot longer than cars used as mass transportation vehicles. Additionally, they seem to be targeting people who don't own cars, which, by my math, says they would be selling more cars.
    • >> they seem to be targeting people who don't own cars

      Yep, this plan is aimed at getting millennials to drive more often, then decide that they don't want to share their car with the great unwashed masses (which normally happens anyway when kids enter the picture), then buy a car.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The funding, which recently closed, values Lyft, which is based in San Francisco, at $4.5 billion.

    Startup valuations are such a sham. I swear, Silicon Valley accounting puts Hollywood to shame.

  • GM will also work with Lyft to set up a series of short-term car rental hubs across the United States, places where people who do not own cars can pick up a vehicle and drive for Lyft to earn money.

    its all good up to the lyft for money plug. Lyft and Uber as a 'play taxi for cash' concept is break-even at best. These services will exist for maybe 5-6 more years before folding or being gobbled up by taxi companies under a combination of legislative overhaul targeting the livery vehicle segment, and the fact that neither of these options lets their "contractors" put food on the table. GM is hoping to cash in on two companies skirting multiple federal and state labour and taxi regulations before said

    • Millenials drive less, not more than previous generations and so far interfaces for their phones to their cars doesnt seem to be enticing them to change that trend

      Good, because enticing millenials to drive cars because there's a cell phone interface is an idiotic thing.

      I recently spent a few days in a busy downtown walking around on snow covered sidewalks ... I saw people stop dead in the sidewalk, or in a crosswalk, or in the door to a store ... all so they could check their damned phones. I had to resis

    • Of course Millenials drive less. [nytimes.com]
      I wonder how that breaks down when you factor out all the basement/garage/childhood bedroom dwellers.
  • GM will also work with Lyft to set up a series of short-term car rental hubs across the United States, places where people who do not own cars can pick up a vehicle and drive for Lyft to earn money

    But that's totally different from a taxi company, because ... er ... freedom!

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Monday January 04, 2016 @01:55PM (#51235985)

    Going through tax paperwork over the weekend I noticed that my auto policy now prohibits claims made if I ever tried to use my car in an Uber, Lyft, or even another "ridesharing" program.

    I wonder if that will have an effect on everyone trying to make extra money on the side; it's not like they can really claim that they weren't providing a paid ride during a period in which an accident happens since the dispatch app will have all the records server-side.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Going through tax paperwork over the weekend I noticed that my auto policy now prohibits claims made if I ever tried to use my car in an Uber, Lyft, or even another "ridesharing" program.

      That one *might* not hold up in court.

      Contracts are important, but not iron-clad; it's generally frowned up on by the courts if a company takes your money for a reasonable expectation of service and then denies the service. It wouldn't be reasonable to assume that having paid insurance for 3 years, a claim could be denie

    • That's probably only valid if your claim is for an incident occurring while you're ridesharing.

      Uber provides insurance covering you while providing ridesharing.

      • >> Uber provides insurance covering you while providing ridesharing.

        There's a wonderful grey "on call" area in there too that appears to have gotten some people in trouble:
        https://www.policygenius.com/b... [policygenius.com] (search ahead to "CPUC’s first step in regulating TNCs")

        • You're not carrying passenger, but on the way, so you're covered by neither your insurer nor Uber. Okay, that's a new one on me.

          It seems to me (reasonable person test) driving on your way to pick up someone for an Uber call is the same operation as driving to a job interview, or driving to meet your (existing) friends at a new night club. Hell, I have to drive down to an unfamiliar part of town in an hour to pick up a guitar I had shipped from another Guitar Center. That's the same scenario.

          Carrying a

          • by dave420 ( 699308 )

            Your "reasonable person test" doesn't seem to work too well, as driving your car to pick up a fare is part of using your car for business. Visiting a nightclub or going to an interview involves using the car, but can be performed with any other form of transport, so it's hardly comparable. Delivering pizzas is the same thing - you are simply driving to work until you start using your car for business. I can see why you think the way you do, but don't assume you are the sole arbitrator of reason, just as

            • So driving a car to a location without an anonymous passenger is different than driving a car to a location without an anonymous passenger?

              Or are you arguing that driving a car to a location *with* an anonymous passenger in your car is *the* *same* *as* driving that car to a location *without* an anonymous passenger in your car?

  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Monday January 04, 2016 @01:58PM (#51236011)

    Lyft thinks the future of self-driving cars is in a network of vehicles people share, rather than individual ownership.

    Like public, mass-transit: buses, trains and planes?

    • Sure. If your bus comes to your house on demand when you call it with your smartphone instead of going to predefined stops on a schedule.

      So yes, exactly like a bus. Except not at all.

      What this will be very useful for is short trips TO transit hubs like subway stations, LRT stations and express bus stops. You call a self-driving car to your door, hop in and it drops you off 5-10 minutes later at the transit point of you choice then the car goes away and back into the shared pool. You complete your trip d

      • What about shorter trips? 5-10 minutes gets me to the grocery store; given that I'm likely to be loaded down with bags when I leave, not having to shift transports twice would be a real time saver.

        For getting to the transport hub most of the time you should be able to get by with a vehicle even smaller than smart cars. Other times you might want the storage area of a SUV when you're going to the airport on vacation.

        That being said, automatic ordering combined with automatic delivery and manual requests wo

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It isn't ride-sharing if you have to pay for it. What's next? Will retail stores become product-sharing places? Will restaurants become food-sharing places?

  • Because GM has been such a spectacular steward of finances in the past.
    • Snark aside, GM has been around longer than most ./ers grandparents. You don't have that kind of longevity by being completely incompetent.

      Also, this is notable because GM is one of the companies who sees where the future is going and positions themselves to make the most money they can on it. In the 30s and 40s that meant buying up local mass transit systems and killing them, today it means getting into the carsharing scene as an early supplier. They smell which way the wind is blowing, and realize when

      • Re:good job (Score:5, Interesting)

        by andymadigan ( 792996 ) <amadigan@gmaiCOLAl.com minus caffeine> on Monday January 04, 2016 @04:12PM (#51237041)
        "GM chief Mary Barra: 'pattern of incompetence' caused fatal recall delay"

        GM was completely incompetent, which is why it went out of business. GM was renamed to Motors Liquidation Company and split into trusts to deal with the long term effects of GM's incompetence. The incompetent, decrepit organization was of course transferred to a new corporation, so that it can fail again in a few years.

        The new GM made sure it wouldn't be responsible for the legal consequences of the poor quality vehicles it released prior to 2009, so it can't claim the history of the company that manufactured them either. New GM is a brand new company, with the same failed engineering organization.

        Who knows, maybe GM will be the Yahoo! of cars, with its ownership stake in various companies worth more than the core business. In any case, Lyft will hopefully do something more productive with GM's money than GM would have done with it.
      • by Tailhook ( 98486 )

        You don't have that kind of longevity by being completely incompetent.

        Indeed. But that doesn't mean you must be competent in your market. GM has merely been very competent at marshaling the political power necessary to protect itself from the market.

        It's a government operation now, regardless of whether or not the Treasury actually holds shares or loans any longer, because all pretense that GM is subject to the consequences of its failures is gone; the government will be there to keep it all propped up whatever happens. Another GSE just like fannie and freddy.

        So effect

  • by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Monday January 04, 2016 @02:05PM (#51236079) Homepage Journal

    Okay, let me see if I remember things properly, and in the right order.

    GM was headed into bankruptcy, but the US government bailed them out because they were too big to fail.

    Over the next couple of years, the government lost 11 billion dollars [reuters.com] on the deal, money that all the rest of us taxpayers have to make up.

    During that same time, GM made 22.6 billion dollars. [cnn.com].

    Also during that time, GM made vehicles with faulty ignition switches which killed over a hundred people, vigorously denied doing so, quietly fixed the problem, and back-edited the documentation to show that it was fixed all along.

    Today, GM has enough spare cash to invest in other companies.

    Oh, and also today we have an article on the front page about improving school performance by fighting poverty [slashdot.org], and the comments are all responses to people who want to eliminate handouts to the poor.

    This is the news and state of the world presented to us on the first working day of the new year.

    • Can put an end to all homelessness and hunger in the US pretty much right now. Nobody cares.

      • Can put an end to all homelessness and hunger in the US pretty much right now. Nobody cares.

        When you add up the costs of homeless shelters, police, damage, emergency rooms(due to illness caused/made worse by being without shelter), jail space, court costs, etc... Each homeless person costs roughly $40k/year. [politifact.com] Between private parties, city, state, and federal governments.

        Homeless people are expensive. It's actually cheaper to spend the $10k-20k to put them up in permanent housing, without requiring things like 'you have to pass a drug test first!' Living on the street sucks. Of course they're g

  • But the finance industry should be. Car makers don't care how the miles are driven - sure there will be a few less cars in active usage if this plan goes well, but I see them making it up in new revenue streams like Lyft partnerships. The real losers might end up being finance companies and sleazy used car lots who make a killing not off sales but off finance costs. An overall win for society if you ask me.
  • For some reason people want personal space we already have buses and taxis yet people still own their own car (well I say own but many are still making payments)

    • Uber is far better than buses or taxis. Sure, ditching a car for public transport could be done before, but only in extreme cases. Now I have normal non-hippie friends doing just that, with Uber.

      At the very least, it hurts the case for buying a 2nd car.

  • The business model for Uber is any random guy with a car can be a taxi driver pretending to be a non-taxi driver.

    The GM - Lyft model is any random guy without a car can borrow a conveniently parked GM car and be a taxi driver pretending to be non-taxi driver.

    Wow! Pretty soon we will have random guys with lock box code to apartment keys and be an inn-keeper pretending to be a non-inn-keeper. and the possibilities are endless.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I predict that taxi companies will no longer purchase GM cars to be used as taxi's.

  • Lyft thinks the future of self-driving cars is in a network of vehicles people share, rather than individual ownership.

    This is so totally and utterly obvious to anyone with half a brain who cares to sit down and think it through for a few minutes - at least for the mass market. In fact, it seems so obvious to me, that I'm worried I've got tunnel vision for it, does anyone know any viable arguments for private ownership in a world where cars drive themselves?

  • Geez GM, talk about backing the wrong horse.

  • So GM, the company that "the gov" bailed out of bankruptcy 7 years ago with 20 Billion USD is now backing a "not-taxi" startup with 500 Million USD?

    Great.....there goes more of our tax dollars.

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