Ride-Sharing Practices, Materialities and Imaginaries
The sub-project examines how inter-city transport oriented towards cost saving manifests itself as socio-material urbanity. In choosing to explore inter city transport and ride sharing practices, we attempt to observe a number of innovations due to an ongoing process of de-regulation in the national and European transport markets since the 1990s; this process has led to i.e. new forms and a greater variety of connectivity between cities, including a variety of “low cost carriers”. Today such a productive conflict is to be found in the breaking of the rail monopoly for inter-city transport and the resulting cheap bus connections.
In the area of ride-sharing formats for road and rail, which are currently at the centre of our study, changes have been observed for a number of years in the area of weekend and regional tickets which allow groups of people to take a ride together within a region. This type of ticket is used in a variety of forms, on behalf of commuters or on behalf of small entrepreneurs. Social network media are also affecting the field of quite well established online hitchhiking websites (OHWs). These Internet platforms offer, besides car rides, rail and bus tickets. These social network media add new “qualculative” formats, to borrow a term from Franck Cochoy (2008), and also provide new impulses in the classical area of car sharing.
The question we try to answer is: how does this situation affect urban consumer and service offers, on individual lifestyles (as commuter, migrant, traveller) and on the representations of the connected cities.