Rideshare rules! Sidecar reaches agreement with CPUC

Today marks a big victory for rideshare. We’ve reached an agreement with the California Pacific Utilities Commission (CPUC) that supports Sidecar’s continued operation in California and removes all citations and fines imposed against our company.

This agreement with the CPUC is seven months in the making. Even though the CPUC and Sidecar have shared goals for protecting safety and encouraging innovation, we felt it was important to wait to sign this agreement until it allowed us to work together while preserving the principles of rideshare. SideCar is a technology platform that enables peer-to-peer ridesharing and should not be regulated as if it’s operating a dispatch transportation service.

Thank YOU, our community of riders and drivers, for supporting Sidecar through this process. Your voice has helped us get to where we are today.

We have a vision to reinvent transportation through smartphones. We believe that one day you won’t need a car, because your phone is all you need to get around. This vision will only be realized if regulators open the door to innovation and innovators resist the status quo. This agreement between Sidecar and the CPUC is a win for California AND innovation.

We built Sidecar with the safety of our drivers and riders in mind. In fact, we have many safety measures in place that make Sidecar safer than taxis:

  • $1 million dollar insurance coverage per incident
  • Background checks on all drivers
  • Zero tolerance drug and alcohol policy
  • A rating system that makes it easy for you tell us what you love and what needs work
  • A cashless experience – you pay with the app
  • GPS tracking of rides and the ability to share your journey details with friends

When regulators and innovators work together people win. We look forward to continuing to work with officials in all nine cities we operate to reinvent transportation and make it cleaner, greener and better for our communities.

Ride On California!

Sunil Paul

Sidecar Technologies, Inc.

I <3 NY: #defendsharing

The Sharing Economy is part of a huge cultural shift. Millions of people around the world are using their smartphones and their computers to swap ownership for access. Cars, homes and bicycles are being shared instead of owned. Airbnb is a pioneer of this movement and its biggest success story to date. We are very disappointed by a judge’s ruling today implying Airbnb is illegal because it violates the city’s “hotel law.”

Sharing resources is not a crime. This decision is anti-competitive, anti-innovation and bad for New York.

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It has become clear that New York City regulators are protecting their own interests rather than those of the public. In the last 30 days Sidecar, as well as car-sharing service RelayRides, have received enforcement action forcing us to suspend service in New York City. Three Sharing Economy companies cited in ONE month – not because of public complaints, but because they have the potential to disrupt the hotel, taxi and insurance industries.

The people of New York City are missing out on the opportunity for three great innovations that make the state and the city more sustainable, more affordable and more connected.

We stand by Airbnb. We stand up for sharing in New York City. Stand with us.

Click to #defendsharing on Twitter:

Click to #defendsharing

It’s Time to Accelerate

The last few months have been quite a ride. Since our official launch in San Francisco less than a year ago, we’ve expanded into eight additional markets, doubled our employee count, acquired HeyRide in Austin, broke records at SXSW and have emerged as the #1 rideshare community. Our CFO Nick Allen played a pivotal role in our rapid expansion; under his fearless leadership Sidecar LA, Austin, Philly and Chicago surpassed San Francisco growth milestones in less than two months.

Today we look forward to the future with the addition of two company leaders who will help us build our brand visibility and prepare for global expansion – Gregory Boutte, Chief Revenue Officer and Robert Wong, EVP Product.

Gregory joins us from eBay where he was Vice President of eBay Electronics and eBay Motors, two of eBay North America’s largest businesses. Previous to that he served as managing director of eBay France and VP of Southern Europe managing eBay operations in ten European countries. Under Gregory’s leadership, eBay became the number one ecommerce site in France. As Chief Revenue Officer, Gregory will be responsible for managing the company’s rapid expansion and marketing, growing both our driver and rider community and overseeing Sidecar’s penetration into national and international markets. Gregory has a reputation for leadership and execution. His depth of experience in two-sided marketplaces and international operations will be key to Sidecar’s global acceleration.

Robert is a renowned industry product executive with the strategic and tactical expertise to take a breakthrough idea mainstream. He was previously VP of Product at Hulu where he led design, product management, editorial and customer support for Hulu and Hulu Plus. During his five years at Hulu, Robert grew the product team to more than 100 people, drove the launch of the Hulu Plus subscription service, directed the product design for Hulu beyond the computer to more than 300 million Internet-connected devices, and led successful product redesigns of web, living room and mobile experiences. As EVP Product, Robert will oversee product management, design, user experience and Sidecar community vehicle branding to drive increased visibility.

We founded Sidecar with a vision to rethink transportation and make it better for the environment, the economy and our communities through smartphones and shared rides. We’ll do this by having the best ideas, the best product and the best execution. But we are a people platform first, and a technology platform second. In order to rethink transportation we must have the best leaders, the best team and the best community of drivers and riders. With these strong additions to our team, we are well on our way!

Ride On!

Sunil Paul

CEO
Sidecar Technologies, Inc.

Boston, NYC and DC Ride Free!

You already know that ridesharing with SideCar is the safest, greenest and most fun way to get around Boston, NYC and Washington, DC. At the touch of a smartphone button, our friendly drivers are ready to take you wherever you need to go — what could be better than that?

Starting today, SideCar is also free in these cities. Heading to the BoSox game? Free. Hitting up karaoke at Recessions? Free. Need a ride home to Brooklyn, NOVA, Brookline or Silver Spring? That’s right, totally FREE.

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Why would we do such an (awesome) thing, you ask?

  • First of all, we want to reward you, our incredible communities for the warm welcome we’ve received in our newest cities. Your support makes all the difference in helping us get the word out that SideCar is a safe and fun way to get around town, meet new people and take more cars off the road.
  • Secondly, we’re actively meeting with officials in these cities to educate them on the environmental, economic and community benefits of rideshare. While these meetings are underway, we’ve decided to make SideCar free so everyone has the opportunity to try SideCar and experience the joy of rideshare.
  • Last, we want you to try SideCar! Free is a great incentive to give rideshare a spin for the first time. Once you’ve taken a ride with SideCar, we know you’ll love it so much you’ll ride with us again and again.

SideCar is reinventing transportation and making it better for the environment, better for people’s wallets and most of all, FUN! So start planning your weekend now, and be sure to let your friends know that you’ll all be traveling in style this weekend… FREE style, that is:

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Ride On,

The Boston, NYC & DC SideCar Teams

Hey @MikeBloomberg, NYC Wants You to #DefendSharing!

SideCar is the #1 instant rideshare community that uses smartphones to match people who need a ride with everyday drivers willing to give them one. As our community knows, it’s a safe and reliable way to get around town, meet new people and help keep more cars off the road. Ridesharing helps reduce carbon emissions, decrease air pollution, reduce traffic congestion and helps people save money. New Yorkers want rideshare! 83% surveyed think New York City is a good candidate for a new rideshare program.

Unfortunately, New York regulators view rideshare as competition to taxis and want to shut SideCar down.

Sharing resources is not a crime – it’s a solution for a better and more sustainable way of life. The future of sharing in New York City is at stake. Join thousands nationwide and support ridesharing with these two steps:

  • Call Mayor Bloomberg at 311  (212-NEW-YORK outside NYC) and tell him that SideCar is a safe, affordable and reliable form of transportation, and that you want to keep it in New York City!
  • Click the button to send Mayor Bloomberg a customized Tweet:

Click to support SideCar on Twitter

We founded SideCar with a vision to rethink transportation and make it better for the environment, the economy and our communities through smartphones and shared rides. This idea is so disruptive that the taxi industry has taken extreme measures to stop rideshare from flourishing in New York City.

The TLC Targeted SideCar Drivers

Last weekend, the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) cited two women in SideCar’s brand ambassador program as part of a sting operation. After completing a promotional ride near Webster Hall in Manhattan on Friday night, police vehicles blocked Sandra’s car while two officers interrogated her. At least one of them wore a bulletproof vest. Her keys were taken, she was issued a citation and her brand new car was impounded. Sandra works at Lutheran Augustana Center as a resident clothing handler. She is saving to return to Borough Manhattan Community College as a nursing student next summer.

SideCar community driver Kristy’s stopped vehicle was surrounded by five police officers on 440 East 56th Street on Saturday night. She too was interrogated, not allowed to make a phone call and forced to sit in the back seat of her car while officers checked her license and registration. She was eventually allowed to return home. Kristy is a full-time history student saving for grad school. She is also a tutor for kids in Long Island. With car payment, insurance and gas she estimates she spends about $1000 a month on her car. She wants to earn money by promoting new ride match services like SideCar while also covering the cost of owning a car in New York City.

Sandra and Kristy are extremely shaken up by the aggressive actions of the TLC. Sharing resources is not a crime and these women didn’t deserve to be treated like criminals.

Ride Match is Legal in New York City

We’ve been having active conversations with the TLC since launching SideCar in New York City. We are extremely disappointed that the TLC enforcement division ignored our dialogue about rideshare and chose to conduct a sting operation targeting two women in our community. SideCar and ridesharing are legal activities in New York City:

  • SideCar is a technology platform that matches people for shared rides. SideCar is not a “for hire” transportation service.
  • The TLC regulates “for hire” vehicles. SideCar does not dispatch drivers or mandate shifts. Drivers are not employees and their cars are their own.
  • There are no meters or required fees, payment is entirely voluntary and the amount donated (including nothing) is at the total discretion of the passenger.
  • The City Code regulates vehicles that operate “for hire.  Members of the SideCar rideshare community pay what they want and it’s 100% voluntary.
  • SideCar is protected under Federal law.
  • The TLC’s licensing requirements and regulatory barriers are designed to shield taxi companies from competition.

Transportation is too important to close the door on innovation. Despite the TLC’s extremely aggressive enforcement action this weekend, we will continue to work for the right to share resources and bring the benefits of rideshare to New York City. What happens in New York City has implications for the entire sharing economy.

Ride On New York City!

Sunil Paul
CEO
SideCar Technologies, Inc.

Which is the Hottest Hood in SF? You Decide… With Rides

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The “best” neighborhood for nightlife in San Francisco is a long-debated topic. Where one hood may reign in awesome dive spots, another may rule in delicious cuisine, while a third may be rocking the cheapest drink specials in town. Still another may win for the evening if your desire is simply to dance the night away.

Well, this weekend is the time to choose your favorite hood once and for all! We’ll be pitting four of SF’s liveliest neighborhoods against each other in a race to see which has the most going on, and the winning neighborhood will receive free SideCar rides home for everyone out in that hood!

The Rules:

  • The Hoods: Polk Street, SOMA, the Mission, and the Marina
  • This Friday and Saturday, we’ll track each neighborhood to see which had the most SideCar drop offs. The more rides you take (and encourage friends to take) to your hood of choice, the more likely your ride home will be free!
  • At midnight each night, we’ll tally up the numbers and announce which neighborhood received the most inbound rides for the day
  • From midnight to 4am, SideCar Riders will be able to take a free SideCar ride home from the winning neighborhood!
  • Friday and Saturday will run as separate contests, so prepare for revenge on day two!

Riders will be notified via the app when the winning neighborhood is announced, but you can also follow along on Twitter (@SideCarSF) to keep track of which neighborhood is in the lead.

Even if your neighborhood doesn’t win, don’t worry! We’ll be running this contest again with other legendary SF neighborhoods and perhaps even in our other cities. (And feel free to let us know on Twitter or Facebook which ones you’d like us to include next time!)

#RideOn

Legal Mumbo Jumbo: The winning neighborhood will be the one with the most inbound SideCar rides completed between the hours of 12:01am and 11:59pm on Friday, 4/19/13 or Saturday, 4/20/13. The neighborhoods competing include Polk Street, SOMA, the Mission, and the Marina districts in the city of San Francisco as defined by their respective zip codes. (In Pollk Street, that will include the Polk strip through Russian Hill, Nob Hill, and some of the Tenderloin.) The winning neighborhood during that time period will be announced at 12:00am, and SideCar riders in the area will qualify for one free SideCar ride home from the winning neighborhood (up to $15 value). Pickup pin must be placed within the winning neighborhood to claim offer. This offer is good for four hours and will expire at 4:00am the morning on Saturday for Friday’s competition, and on Sunday for Saturday’s competition. 

It’s Time to Reclaim Rideshare

We founded SideCar with a vision to rethink transportation and make it better for the environment, the economy and our communities through smartphones and shared rides. This idea is so disruptive the taxi industry and established companies like Uber are validating it by following our lead and changing their business models.

Uber recently announced its foray into rideshare by using unlicensed commercial drivers in many of the new markets in which we operate. But Uber is not rideshare. Uber is a car service that dispatches vehicles like a taxi. It doesn’t matter if the car is a limo, a taxi, or an unlicensed cab – it’s all just a variation on the theme. By calling their new transportation service “rideshare,” Uber hopes to pollute the term for regulators to protect their business. We hope regulators don’t take the bait.

Ride Match

Match v. Dispatch

SideCar and Uber are as different as Match.com and arranged marriage. SideCar matches people for shared rides. Uber dispatches rides.

SideCar was inspired by casual carpool and ridesharing, which are rides with shared destinations. What distinguishes SideCar from digital dispatch services like taxis and Uber is destination and choice. SideCar requires that riders enter where they are going when they request a ride, so drivers can choose if a shared trip is convenient and makes sense for them to accept.

True rideshare reduces emissions that cause health problems and climate change, reduces traffic and makes more efficient use of publicly funded infrastructure. We only get these benefits if the driver can plan the trip, which requires he or she know where the rider is going in advance. Without destination and choice, drivers accept ride requests blindly, not knowing whether they are going to some place on their way or across town. Simply put, rideshare is not rideshare if the driver doesn’t know the destination in advance.

It’s Time to Reclaim Rideshare

When Uber, a company in the business of chauffeured vehicles, joined the “rideshare” movement it became obvious the term has been polluted. One could even argue digital dispatch services like Uber increase the amount of cars on the road and are part of the environmental and transportation problem we’re trying to solve.

We need a bright line between ride matching services that allow the sharing of resources and dispatch services like taxis and Uber. This bright line should be based on passengers entering destination and putting a cap on the amount a driver can earn annually from the maximum rideshare vehicle. This is less than $12,000 dollars a year in California – too small to make a living, but enough to cover the annual cost of vehicle ownership. Rideshare has the potential to transform transportation for the better. But there must be a clear set of standards across jurisdictions so true rideshare, and all its benefits, can continue to flourish.

Transportation Innovation Can’t Wait

We have a vision to reinvent transportation and offer a fundamentally different model for addressing the critical environmental, economic and quality of life issues that face our nation. Transportation is too important to sit idly by waiting for change. While others sit on the sidelines waiting for a green light to innovate, we’ll continue to blaze the trail and defend the principles behind rideshare in the cities in which we operate, the nation and the world. We believe ride match is the future of transportation, and SideCar will lead this movement.

The Innovation Delay at SFO

In March we received a cease and desist letter from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) that cites SideCar and its drivers for operating illegally and without a permit at the airport. SideCar is 100% legal and we’ve responded with a letter clarifying what we do.

SideCar is a technology platform that enables peer-to-peer ridesharing. Our smartphone app matches people for shared rides. We’re not a taxi service – we don’t dispatch drivers to pick up or drop off passengers in any location, including SFO. SideCar drivers are regular, everyday people willing to give rides to people who need them. People pay what they want and drivers choose when they drive and where they go.

SideCar leads the movement to build a transportation sharing economy that results in a cleaner, greener and a more socially connected community. As the instant rideshare leader we’ve become a target for regulators who don’t understand what we do and are threatened by a disruptive technology that has the potential to reinvent transportation.

We’ve received letters to cease and desist in Philadelphia, Austin and California. Our driver community was a target of a sting operation in Philadelphia. We’ve sued the city of Austin for the right to continue rideshare there – a position we’re prepared to defend in court April 10. In California, we’re actively engaged with the California Public Utilities Commission to modify existing transportation regulations to accommodate smartphone app companies like SideCar.

We’re spent more than half a million dollars and countless hours defending our position to regulators and it’s a distraction. Big transportation problems face our nation. Rideshare is a great solution. SideCar has the potential to transform and offer a fundamentally different model for addressing critical environmental, economic and quality of life issues across our nation. We believe the right to share resources is an important principal for the entire sharing economy so we’re pushing on. We’re going to defend the right to share resources to regulators, in court, to SFO and anyone else who stands in the path of innovation.

Ride On!

Nick Allen
CFO, SideCar Technologies, Inc.

DC Loves Rideshare and SideCar Loves DC!

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DC meets SideCar tonight and we predict a perfect match. Beginning this weekend, SideCar is available every Friday and Saturday night from 5pm until 3am. SideCar is a fast, affordable and safe way to get around the Capitol, meet new people and help keep more cars off the road.

Did you know the Washington DC area’s love affair with rideshare dates back about 35 years? Each day, an estimated 10,000 commuters line up at pre-arranged locations where everyday drivers pick them up for a shared ride to or from work. This community driven instant carpool is called “slugging” and it reduces the amount of cars on the road and helps people save time and money.

DC loves rideshare. In fact, 93% of residents polled said DC would benefit from a new rideshare program.

SideCar is a smartphone app that matches everyday drivers in their own car with people nearby who need a ride. We’re like matchmakers for the perfect ride – right when you want it, good for the economy, good for your wallet, good for the environment and fun!

Haven’t tried SideCar? Download the app and use the promo code: FRIENDS for $10 off your first ride. Drivers love SideCar because it’s a great way to explore their own city, meet interesting people and earn some extra cash. Want to give rides? Sign up at www.side.cr/drive.

SideCar is also in San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Austin, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston and Brooklyn, NY. We’re on a journey to take rideshare, and all the benefits it brings, everywhere. Jump in DC – let’s take this ride together!

Ride On!

The SideCar Team

Follow us on Twitter: @SideCarDC

So Long SXSW! Austin, We’re Sticking Around

Thanks to all who came out in support of SideCar at SXSW. What a wild ride it was! It started with us filing a lawsuit against the City of Austin to bring the benefits of rideshare here. We made a last minute decision to make all rides free rather than risk law enforcement actions that would derail our plans to help you get around the festival.

Word spread FAST in social media and on the street. We had a thousand ride requests within hours of rolling out Friday morning and 20,000 + requests by the end of Interactive Wednesday. We loved your Twitter shout outs for #SXSideCar and @SideCarATX and were super psyched to hear from many of you that SideCar saved you at SXSW. We’re glad we could help you get to and from the most awesome parties and events and meet great people along the way (like me shown here with Mayor Cory Booker and my dad, Dean).

Cory Booker

This was SideCar’s first SXSW and it was amazing! This wasn’t just a drive through town for us – we’re sticking around. We’ve recently had productive conversations with city officials about the benefits of rideshare and we’re feeling good about a positive outcome in Austin.

SideCar returns this weekend in Austin and will be available Friday and Saturday nights from 5pm – 3am.

Thank you SXSW and Ride On Austin!

Justin Schmidt, Austin City Manager

@sideCarATX

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