Thoughts: Luxury Private Hire

It is not unusual to find more luxury car owners driving non-commercial private hire services. Their motivations can be wide-ranging, but we acknowledge that most would not be doing it for extra income. Cities can be overwhelming places, full of strangers. This anonymity can make one feel further disconnected from society and hesitancy to talk to strangers can create a seemingly unfriendly city and lonely people. Neuroscience also informs us of how people raised and living in densely populated areas have increased stress reactions. Studies have also begun to find that urban environments may heighten the risk of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

In our city life, we are increasingly becoming individualistic and where independence is valued, there is less drive to help others. However, as an Asian society, we primarily tend to be "collectivistic" in nature, which means that we are raised to behave in ways that are more conducive to the community. Where we are encouraged to be active players in society, this may also initiate that desire to engage in such private hire activities.

Additionally, there would be a joy of free-wheeling conversations with new people of different backgrounds, which rarely occurs in local social networking events, which are seemingly more agenda-driven. Conversations in a casual car ride can be very different from agenda-driven ones in business meetings. Living in a big city, we are less likely to have a close-knit community where neighbours know each other. In our highly competitive society, we are less likely to trust our associates and keep more to ourselves. The anonymity and ambitious drive that living in this environment grants us can also result in a lack of trust, making it harder to connect.

There is some change in the mode of interaction among strangers and this allows us to have more fluid conversations. The nature of a private hire states clearly the terms of this relationship, being the transaction of money that takes place upon delivery of the passenger to their destination. As these terms are transparent, there is no fear or further expectation on either parties part. This allows for a more organic relationship to form afterward.

Free-wheeling conversations, where no vested interests other than to connect with another, can be a refreshing change and it is fueled by our innate desire to connect with others on an emotional level. We have a need to feel helpful - whether this be helping one get to their destination, or just providing a listening ear.

All in all, whether the trend in wealthy drivers using services to broker deals is positive or negative is hard to conclude. It is a creative way to seek connections, but it depends on the fit between the two individuals in this engagement. If both feel comfortable enough, there is nothing stopping the from continuing the relationship beyond the car ride.

Written by Dr. Joel Yang