That cost is why the kid just borrows the parents' car. Then later they can rent a car if they need to do the road trip. Young adults who live in a big city often don't have a car because of the cost of parking it, let alone all the other costs. It's a pain in a big city to have a car unless you are well off. Also in the city, there are those Zipcar rentals that make it easy to rent a car for a few hours.
I like your idea of the future commerical: the parent handing the kid a bus pass. My transit agency might want to use that for their next PR campaign.
The scene of the American teen on the threshold of independence has always been the dad tossing his son or daughter the car keys. It would be sad if all of the commercials now instead show a dad handing his kid...a bus pass. Yes, you can go a lot of places on a bus, but it is no substitute for the freedom of a car which is practically infinite. Who wants that kind of limit on the human spirit, that same spirit which has braved unknown oceans to seek new places? Why are less kids getting licenses? One reason might be the upfront costs. It is not just putting gas in the tank, but when one barely has their first job they are now hit with big insurance bills. I don't plan to get rid of my car. I value too much the freedom it offers. And there is nothing like a long road trip vacation, taking a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway, or driving through the western states to visit Yellowstone, seeing our magnificent country at ground level.
In addition to the convenience (mostly) and efficiency (in theory) of mass transit, there's also a green aspect: it's hammered into your head: get out of your car and use mass transit. I use mass transit every day and prefer it because it costs too much to park in the city and through mass transit you get $$ breaks and faster commute time via commute lanes. The irony is the car industry is blamed, at least in the San Francisco Bay Area, for the dismantling a really good transit system that was operating into the late 1950s. The whole thing about the US car industry getting destroying mass transit is a tale told in the Bay Area by the older generation of commuters who remember the Key Rail system.
"Is it possibly even simpler than that: young people are so involved with their online world that they would rather use public transport and walk than drive as it is now illegal to text etc and drive in so many countries?"
Perhaps, but tell that to all the high school kids who drive to school, to their afterschool activities, to parties. Often in gargantuan vehicles. I haven't witnessed any decline in that. So I'm still puzzled, but pleased, with this trend.
Good ideas all around. I hadn't thought of the aspirational one, though. Very true as well. Buying a car was seen as a status statement, much like people think now of iPhones and iPads. And people used to make a point of taking that "Sunday drive." I guess that type of motivation for buying particular products is bound to change over the decades.
The effect of telecommuting was a good suggestion. Now, would be nice if someone would clue in Marissa Mayer (Yahoo!), and those who cheered her odd heavyhandedness.
Perhaps this is similar to the decline in smoking. Difference being, smoking needs to stop completely, but the need for private transportation is not likely to vanish.
Is it possibly even simpler than that: young people are so involved with their online world that they would rather use public transport and walk than drive as it is now illegal to text etc and drive in so many countries?
@zewde, when a new generation of the population is not interested in buying your products, it's always a sign of trouble for any industry.
I don't think the automotive industry is twiddling their thumbs, waiting for someone to explain to them why peopl are not buying cars.
Because they already know why.
-people feel less need to travel. (a lot can be don online)
-people are fed up with a long commute in a traffic jam.
-buying a car in 50's was not just an aspirational goal for young people but it was the right of passage for the young people. today, that right of passage belongs to smartphones and paying the whopping monthly fees.
@TwoWolves. Definitely, I agree. Virtual worlds are taking place of the real world in many ways not only for the young generation but for everyone.
I find it telling that a Ford executve coming to Mobile World Congress, to talk about partnering with the telecommunicationsindustry to create sicites in which "pedestrian, bicylce, private cars, commerical and public transportaion traffic are woven into a connected network to save time, conserve resources, lower emissions and improve safety," according to the NY Times' article.