Archive | August 2012

SideCar Driver of the Week – Shawn

Shawn has been in the Bay Area since 2002 when he started at UC Berkeley.  Since then he’s picked up and moved into the city, living in the Inner Richmond for a little over three years now.  Shawn now works for a non-profit, Pacific Community Ventures, providing jobs and economic growth to low and middle income communities.

Being a self proclaimed foodie, Shawn loves all of the options for fine dining in the Bay Area.  If you happen to find yourself in a car with Shawn, have him point you to his favorite Indian or Thai restaurant (he knows quite a few).

Shawn’s SideCar experience began with an introduction from his girlfriend*.  A little skeptical at first, Shawn tried SideCar as a passenger and was immediately hooked.  Since then he’s been giving rides throughout the city, loving the people and places he’s seen along the way.

*Make that fiance…  Congrats on the recent engagement, Shawn!

SideCar Driver of the Week – Kate

Hoosier favorite SideCar driver? Our pick this week is Indiana native and Purdue alumna, Kate. She has been living in the beautiful Bay for 4 years, including Berkeley and San Francisco, and she’s a huge fan of the great outdoors (by that I mean nature, not the John Candy / Dan Aykroyd movie).

Unless Phish is in town, you will typically find Kate in a Kayak, on the side of a cliff, or in some other outdoor adventure setting. She is a huge fan of Yosemite, Western Marin, and one of Berkeley’s best hole in the wall restaurants – Cafe Tibet. For a living, Kate sells maintenance & efficiency programs to help companies save energy.

Kate originally heard about SideCar from a friend, and she was incredibly intrigued and excited about the concept of p2p ridesharing. Needless to say, she’s hooked! She loves the convenience of driving whenever she wants, and says, “What an awesome way to discover restaurants, bars, and hangouts! I have discovered several cool places from passengers.”

Traffic and Community Averages

This is Nick, SideCar’s number-crunching CFO. What a wild ride (pun intended) the last few months! Thanks to all of you for being awesome contributors to the community, both as drivers and riders. I’m writing here today to shed a little light on how we calculate the “Community Average” donations that we display in the app and to explain a change we are making to more accurately reflect those Community Averages.

As you all know, SideCar is a donation-based rideshare platform that connects riders who need a ride with drivers willing to give a ride. Payment is voluntary and drivers use the extra cash to help offset the costs of their vehicles. It’s a win-win for all. We help drivers and riders make informed decisions about the voluntary payment by displaying the average payment others have made for similar past trips. Many factors are taken into account, but we predominantly average the donations paid by others on trips of similar distances and expected durations.

After combing through our data we discovered that recently, in times of heavy traffic congestion, we’ve been underestimating trip times by 30% and sometimes more. What that means is that in many cases we have been under reporting the averages because we’ve been underestimating travel times and thus using the wrong data to calculate the averages. I’m sure many of you have noticed. I know those who drive have. In all fairness, we are making some changes to our algorithm that will more accurately take into account trip time and in turn more accurately display the average donations.  Typical commute times and busy weekend hours will see some impact.

Thanks for reading and for understanding this change is all about improving accuracy and fairness. Expect continued tweaks and improvements as we work to better the experience for drivers and passengers alike. We will always keep you posted.

If you have any questions at all, post them in the comments or send me an email at nick at side dot cr.

Thanks,

Nick

Driver, Rider, CFO

SideCar Driver of the Week – Nick

Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Nick and his family moved to San Francisco in April searching for opportunities in tech. His wife and children are his favorite treasures and they are settling into the city quite nicely.

Since April, Nick has been marketing his landscaping business through TaskRabbit and he’s quickly making a name for himself. His wife Esther is a tech entrepreneur as well; she is currently building software to help foster families.You can often find Nick and his wife on Fillmore. They are big fans of of the music at BooM BooM RooM and the frozen yogurt at Fraiche. He says that he’s not typically one to rave about fro-yo, but he likes that Fraiche makes their’s in-house from scratch.

Nick discovered SideCar when he was searching for work on taskrabbit.com. After chatting with a SideCar member at a networking event, he signed up and was on the road in no time. Nick said, “I couldn’t believe how quickly I got set up to be a SideCar driver!” He really likes that he can set his own schedule and give rides in between his landscaping gigs.

The SideCar Guide to Outside Lands

In case you haven’t heard, this weekend is Outside Lands. Got your tickets and set your personal lineup? Awesome, us too!  Planning to take a SideCar to and from the festival?  Sweet!  Because of the music festival madness, we thought we could make your life a little easier by giving you a few tips & tricks for getting around with SideCar this weekend.

GENERAL SUGGESTIONS

1. Be patient.  There will be many requests and we’ll do our best to pick you up ASAP!
2. Count the members in your crew.  Remember, 4 passengers max per SideCar.
3. Be courteous to your drivers.  They will have plenty of interesting passengers over the course of the weekend, so please be considerate.
4. If you like your driver, look for them on your next ride with the new “Choose a Driver” feature!

GETTING TO THE FESTIVAL

Set your drop off location 1-2 blocks outside of Golden Gate Park. Trust us, foot traffic and road blocks will make it difficult to drop you off at Will Call. Plus, this will allow your driver to pick up more festival goers.

LEAVING THE FESTIVAL

Walk 1-2 blocks from Golden Gate Park in any direction and set your pickup location. It will make it easier for drivers to get to you, and you will be easier to identify.

PRO TIPS

  • Stay in your pickup location so your driver can find you.
  • Avoid late cancels just because you see a cab.  (SideCar drivers are nice people who really will pick you up.  If you must cancel, do it early.)
  • If you have multiple drop offs, be cool and re-book your ride between drop offs.  It’s easy and a huge courtesy for your driver.

Rock on, riders.

Not a SideCar member yet? Get the app today! There’s never been a better time to ride.

Win $50 Credit this Weekend by Getting 6 Unique Rides!

To celebrate two awesome personalization features in our latest app update (Choose a Driver & Block a Driver/Passenger), we’re launching a sweet challenge this weekend, and you can win $50 in SideCar Credit if you complete it!  All you have to do is complete rides with 6 unique SideCar community drivers between Friday (8/3) and Sunday (8/5).

Here’s how it works:

  1. Install the latest update for the SideCar app
  2. Tap “Offers” on the menu screen and then tap the 6 Driver Challenge!
  3. Enter your phone # and the promo code: NEWFRIENDS
  4. Use our new “Choose a Driver” feature to hand-select your drivers when you request rides
  5. Complete 6 rides from 6 different drivers between Friday at 6am (8/3) and Sunday at midnight (8/5)
  6. Get your sweet $50 SideCar credit and make a few friends in the process!

Who said getting around isn’t fun?

Brand Spanking New! Customize your SideCar with Choose & Block Features!

We’ve always thought that crowdsourced transportation would be a lot more fun if you could personalize it.  Make it your own.  Sure, the pleasant surprise of an awesome new driver or passenger is never going to get old, but what if you want to show your favorite drivers how much you appreciate them by choosing them specifically for your next ride?  On the flip side, what if you got a ride from someone who’s cool, but you just didn’t jibe with… maybe you weren’t into their music, or you didn’t care for their car?

With today’s awesome app update we’re making it easier to personalize your SideCar experience.

Here’s how the new features work:

CHOOSE A DRIVER:  

With today’s app update, you can now select specific drivers on the map when you request a ride!  Simply input your pickup and dropoff locations, then tap the cars on the map to see pics, names, star ratings, vehicle types and seating capacity.  Choose a specific driver and they will be sent your request directly.  It’s a great way to select old favorites or meet new people.  Of course you can always still choose “Closest Driver” if you’re in a hurry or are in the mood for surprise.

BLOCK A DRIVER:

After a ride’s completed, if you prefer not to ride with that driver anymore, simply rate them 4 stars or fewer, and a box will pop up asking if you’d like to “Block” them.  Select OK and they’ll stop getting your ride requests.  Blocking is completely discreet (drivers will never know who has blocked them) and reversible at any time through the menu.  A graceful and polite way of customizing your own driver community!

Just remember, drivers are all volunteers and they don’t ever have to accept a ride.  So just because you chose them might not mean they’ll accept your request.  Also, drivers can block passengers just like passengers can block them.  So be cool to your drivers at every turn… no one wants to get blocked!

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