I was driving in central Dublin late on a Friday and a Saturday a few weeks ago, marvelling at the traffic. There’s not much traffic about, but it’s almost all taxis. Whole armies of them, pulsing through the arteries of the city. I don’t know how you can make money as a taxi driver that time of night. Supply seems to far outstrip demand.

Perhaps people can’t afford to pay Dublin parking rates, or perhaps they fear for their car’s safety at night time. Perhaps the one-way systems drive them mad or maybe they simply prefer public transport or taxis when they’re out at night. Either way, it got me thinking.

There seems to be a considerable drop in the amount of private cars in the city at night time. There’s been much written about the Uber platform over the last few years and what it’s done to the traditional taxi industry. But has the Uber phenomenon also contributed to a drop in car ownership in each metropolis?

We’re supposed to be moving to an eventual situation where we don’t need to own a car anymore. We’ll simply dial up a request for a car which will be deposited at our departure point. We’ll drive it to our destination there, where someone else will drive it somewhere else.

I was talking to a friend the other day who came back from a sabbatical in England in the summer. He’s not bothered to move back up to a 2-car family – they sold their second car before heading to London – and on the odd occasion he needs a second car he simply hires one for the day or weekend.

It feels like we’re gradually making the move towards treating a car as a service rather than an asset, if the connection of uber and car ownership is truly causal. It’s about time too. There’s no other major asset we purchase which starts depreciating the moment we get it.