Zoomers are turning to Uber, Lyft and public transit more than the generations before them, and it's part of an upward trend to move away from America's "car-centric culture."
"I haven’t needed one to this point. If there’s an emergency, I’ll call an Uber or 911," 24-year-old Madison Corr told The Washington Post.
The rising generation, born loosely between 1996 and 2012, never looked at the learner's permit, the license and the new car as novel coming-of-age stages during their teenage years and many are uninterested in getting behind the wheel in their twenties as well.
23-year-old Gabe Balog told The Post that, "It would be so much better for everyone if public transport were just more accessible," adding that he waited until he reached his twenties to get his own license.
Federal Highway Administration data analyzed by Green Car Congress found that the percentage of American 18-year-olds who had their driver's license in 2018 fell nearly 20 percent from 1983 (80% to 61%) while the number of 16-year-olds with a license saw another drop by nearly 20% in the same timeframe.
When the oldest Zoomers were babies in 1997, the number of 16-year-olds with licenses topped over 40%. As of 2020, the number lingered around 25%.
What's behind the change, and is it destined to continue?
With the option for a ride available at their fingertips, more Zoomers are turning to Uber, Lyft and public transit where available. Cabs are also an option. It's another way the rising generation is reshaping American culture and ideas about what adulthood looks like.
For some, concerns over the environment contributed to the decision while, for others, the motive is more internal.
"There is the question of independence, at least that’s what I’m told all the time, but I’m an anxious person and driving does seem intimidating to me. I’ve tried it, and it just feels very hard. And I do love public transportation, so I plan things very much in advance and make sure I can get a train there," Celeste Robinson, a then-high school senior, told the Associated Press in 2021.
Antoher, Kat Wilson, said, "I hate cars, I don’t trust people driving them, especially in New Jersey, and I see a lot of accidents, and it’s scary. When someone pulls into our lane, maybe from a parking lot, I just automatically tense up."
The trend coincides other head-scratching trends coming from the TikTok generation, including the cancel culture push by some, social media-driven crazes, and re-thinking the push for a 4-year degree.