TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- People are getting more comfortable using multiple options for transportation, but one expert says there is more at stake than convenience: There is also comfort.
"Let's just make it enjoyable, guys," Alex Keros, smart cities chief at General Motors Urban Mobility/Maven, told an audience Wednesday at the seminars.
Don't just pack people in and not think about the customer experience, Keros urged the industry crowd. It is important to make sure that the emerging alternative ways of getting around are just as enjoyable as using a personal car.
"In all of our instances — investment in public transit investment, in sharing options — we absolutely have to make sure the experience is elevated, right? That you're getting in and then going, hmm, this is actually better than what I have."
Besides operating as a traditional short-term rental service, Maven offers peer-to-peer car-sharing, which lets people rent out personal cars that would otherwise sit idle.
That includes Keros himself.
"I am a Bolt EV owner that is also a Maven peer-sharing participant. My wife uses that car Monday through Friday; we put the vehicle on the platform Friday through Sunday. It's used in our community as an asset."
And while he does work for a car company, Keros himself is open to transportation alternatives, especially given the long drive to northern Michigan from Detroit.
"I've driven — I shouldn't admit this — five times to Traverse City and back in the last 10 days. Why isn't there a train?
"I would, in a heartbeat, have sacrificed getting out of my car onto a train."