UberX, Lyft and Sidecar continue to be strong forces in the ride-hailing and taxi market. So, it comes as no surprise that all three companies are experimenting with carpooling as their next green strategy. The new on-demand carpooling options will allow patrons to share rides with others who have similar itineraries. The carpooling services are designed to be requested with the push of a button on a mobile app.
The services will first debut in San Francisco, where UberX, Lyft and Sidecar have ample demand and supply. The price point looks to be competitive with public transportation, with an average cost per rider of up to 40 percent less than Uber’s rates for solo riders. Chief Executive Officer Logan Green gave some insight in a recent online post: “This is a transit system with infinite routes – and it becomes stronger, more affordable, and more efficient the more it’s used.”
Carpooling has known environmental and economic benefits, but the concept has never taken off in a substantial way. The newest services offered by ride-sharing companies may have just found away some of the biggest obstacles to carpooling. In addition, these services may even challenge the traditional car purchasing habits of our newest generations.
So, exactly how does the ride-sharing option work? UberX, Lyft and Sidecar have all launched apps that track carpool requests and optimize ridesharing routes based on destinations. Lyft has introduced Lyft Line, a new app for iPhone users that connects riders going the same direction and results in a discounted price. Lyft Line does not allow for stops, changes or errands along the route. UberPool is Uber’s latest ride-sharing app and is in various stages of testing and implementation. Uber’s Chief Executive Officer Sunil Paul said he looks forward to a broader rollout soon. Sidecar recently launched a test of the Shared Rides service in San Francisco.
One obstacle to the carpooling expansion of the ride-hailing services is California’s regulators. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued a warning to Sidecar saying testing its new Shared Rides feature violates the law. At issue is the fact that Sidecar charges individual fares to riders while carrying multiple people in one vehicle. The CPUC also cited that Sidecar never requested a revision to their existing permit to operate the additional carpool service. But there is no doubt the new service is popular. In the month of August alone, 13,000 individuals in San Francisco requested Shared Rides.
Sidecar isn’t alone in encountering legal issues; UberX continues to battle with taxicab services across the nation. No doubt that ride-sharing services will continue to be popular and will keep pushing legal and policy boundaries as they expand services in the future.
In the UK, aggregates like Airport Transfers UK continue to offer travelers with a quick way to select their airport or taxi rides from thousands of local providers that also includes Minicabit, Taxicode and others. Book a ride here www.airporttransfers-uk.co.uk.