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Lyft co-founder: I won’t teach my daughter to drive

John Zimmer
(Noah Berger / Associated Press)

Here’s a 16th-birthday present John Zimmer’s daughter won’t be getting: a car.

Lyft’s co-founder and president shared that parenting tidbit Tuesday during his keynote address on the first day of the Los Angeles Auto Show.

“It’s not because I’m cheap,” Zimmer said. “It’s because she won’t want to own one. And by then she won’t need to.”

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He also revealed he won’t teach even her how to drive, saying he’s so confident in the ride-sharing revolution being led by ride-hailing apps, he predicts it will end car ownership “as we know it.”

Zimmer noted that the average American household utilizes its cars only 4% of the time and that seats are only 20% occupied. In L.A., commuters spend more than 250 hours a year in traffic.

“Simply put, owning a car today is not enjoyable,” he said. “Today, roads and parking lots have paved 60% of Los Angeles and this is the same pattern happening all over the world, where we are literally paving paradise and putting up a parking lot. Our cities don’t need to and shouldn’t be this way.”

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Zimmer predicted that millennials -- who are more focused on experiences such as travel, food and friends over cars -- will help usher in a “massive shift” away from car ownership. Less than 70% of 16- to 24-year-olds have a driver’s license.

“This is the new transportation consumer,” he said in front of an audience of reporters and industry professionals at the JW Marriott Hotel. “They’re telling us the days of traditional car ownership are over. ... This trend will continue to accelerate rapidly.”

With ride-sharing options such as Lyft, which had more than 7 million rides in October, Zimmer said consumers are getting back some of their freedom and that traffic congestion will subsequently lessen.

He then outlined an ambitious goal to rebuild cities that would include the removal of parking garages, parking lots and even “some stretches of freeway” in order to make room for parks and businesses.

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Twitter: @byandreachang

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