Best friend or free ride?

You’re about to head home after a long shift at work and someone comes to you with the nagging question you just don’t want to hear. “Can I get a ride from you?”

For most people with a conscience it’s hard to say no to someone who needs a ride home or a lift to a doctor’s appointment. The bigger question here, other than someone asking for a free ride, is whether it’s fair for someone with a car to be used like a taxi service.

The issue isn’t about someone who truly can’t afford all the costs that come with keeping a car on the road or the person who needs a ride once in a blue moon. Most drivers don’t mind helping out. When it becomes unfair is when someone doesn’t even bother getting a license or doesn’t drive because they can get a ride from someone else.

From 1999 to 2009 there has been a worldwide decline in young drivers getting their license. There is an average two per cent decline in young drivers from ages 16 to 24 across Canada.

A study by the University of Michigan looked at the reasons why young people aren’t getting their license anymore, with 12 per cent of them stating they don’t drive because they can get a ride from somebody else.

Another 27 per cent said they were too busy or don’t have the time to get a license. It’s unfair to swindle a free ride when someone did take the time to get his or her license. To get a G1 license and upgrade it to a full G class it will cost $146. Don’t forget driver’s education classes either, which can be anywhere from $300 to $500.

This hitchhiker is the one who makes it unfair for those who break their backs to pay for their car, fill the tank, and get insurance – not to mention the time and money it takes to just get a license. It’s OK though, they’ll buy you a coffee as a thank you and think that’s fair.

In reality, it’s really not. A medium coffee at Tim Horton’s is $1.57, which is a drop in the bucket compared to what the driver is paying.

Ontario has the highest insurance rates in Canada where the average monthly payment is $156.50, according to The monthly payment for a new car with a price tag of about $23,000 is at least $300. Without the cost of gas, plate renewal, and maintenance that’s about $456 per month or roughly 290 cups of coffee. Make those one cream and two sugars please.

This means the person getting free rides all the time doesn’t have to spend their money or deal with the responsibility of owning a car, but can still get from point A to point B by mooching.

Don’t forget about road trips either. It sure would be nice if everyone could take turns behind the wheel but if someone doesn’t have a license it’s just a free ride for him or her. Sure they pitched in gas money, but what about the wear and tear on the driver’s vehicle?

A license used to be the sign of freedom but now young adults just want the freedom to travel without the responsibility. If people keep taking advantage of the generosity of drivers they might be surprised if one day they find themselves left at the curb. The last time I checked the colour of my car is green not yellow.