REAL ESTATE OF MIND: Transportation gets an economy in gear

REAL ESTATE OF MIND: Transportation gets an economy in gear
Mario Carey

Businessman, investor and real estate veteran Mario Carey shares thoughts on the economy, lifestyle, environment and The Bahamas of the future in this series.

There’s a reason why the rich, famous and privileged have chauffeurs. If it’s better to be driven than to drive, why is The Bahamas resisting ride share platforms like Uber and Lyft that have made life easier for millions around the world?

Why do we cling to a belief that success is measured by owning a vehicle, showing up at a child’s school or our office in a car we are driving? 

That false pride is crushing one of the fastest routes we could be taking to economic growth and empowerment.

By remaining glued to an irrelevant transportation model, we are halting progress.

The need to open our minds to advances in transportation goes beyond personal comfort of being chauffeured. Historically economic development has been tied to the movement of people, industry and goods which, in turn, has been influenced by transportation.

In the days when the main means of transport was by ship, cities all over the world, including Nassau, grew up around ports with safe harbours.

Later, towns in America and Europe sprung up around train routes and later still, highways and airports opened vast areas for new development and industry.

Ride share as private transport with a public purpose could drive business.

Imagine if Bay Street, Shirley Street, Blue Hill and Carmichael Road were not congested. Click an app on your smart phone and a ride pulls up almost instantly and whisks you off to your destination.

Imagine what ride share would do for restaurants, non-mall shopping, even easing medical appointments, turning reluctance to face clogged roads and parking struggles into an easy, stress-free means to enjoy restaurants, shopping and more.

Decisions about what happens on public roads should not be dictated by the few but based on quality of life and practical issues.

It is worth exploring the benefits of a ride sharing platform, perhaps one that the taxi union can operate or co-own in partnership with others?

The benefits of ride share are expansive, but here are just a few:

It would drastically reduce the risk of motorists driving while impaired, or illegal texting.

Downtown Nassau would become a more desirable place to live, shop, dine and explore, creating jobs and increasing n revenue for government in fees and taxes.

Economic boost could jumpstart potential revival of east of East Street with immediate employment opportunities for drivers, including taxi drivers.

Millennials already burdened by student loan debt won’t need to borrow additional money to buy a car to get to work

Better still, if they have a car, they can earn additional income by driving.

With less urgency or pressure to own a vehicle, Bahamians can pursue other investments like home or property ownership.

The service would only further enhance the already booming Airbnb market, and could also offer special rates for local college students.

Water transportation can also be very effective and profitable.

Traffic congestion will decrease, lessening air pollution and moving toward a safer carbon footprint.

The benefits will have a ripple effect on Real estate as the choice of residential property or businesses to frequent will no no longer be tied to parking issues.

Good transportation is critical to economic prosperity.

Where transportation is insufficient or inefficient, economies stagnate. When transportation is priced right and convenient, cities flourish.