Uber's One Less Car trial pays drivers to ditch their vehicles

Uber has launched what it describes as a first-of-a-kind social experiment, in which private car owners will be offered $1,300 to use alternative modes of transport. 

Called One Less Car, the initiative was launched on Wednesday 1 March as an effort to "reimagine Australia’s relationship with private car ownership." 

The trial is being conducted with Lime, Lug + Carrie and research firm The Behavioural Architects, and is seeking 50 participants living in the metro areas of Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide or Canberra. 

These participants will be tasked with giving up their cars for a four-week period, and given $1,300 in credits for use on public transport, micromobility and car-sharing services instead.  

Participants will be fitted with health trackers to monitor the impacts on their physical wellbeing, and be made to document their experience as they move through the trial.  

According to Uber, Australia has one of the highest rates of private car ownership in the world, with 15.1 million currently on our roads. The company also says that car registrations in Australia increased by 51% between 2001 and 2021, while the population grew by just 37%. 

Taking 50 cars off the road for four weeks won’t do much to reverse this trend, but the hope is that the trial can produce some useful insights into the financial, environmental and health impacts of what Uber calls a "car-light lifestyle." 

The company plans to share these learnings with the transport industry and governments to support planning efforts around the country and help "future proof the liveability of our cities." 

The trial is currently accepting expressions of interest, with more information available here. 

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