We recently asked SideCar riders where they feel safer – a taxi or a ride connected by SideCar? A whopping 71% said they felt safer with SideCar than taxis. We think the reason is that government efforts to protect public safety haven’t kept up with the innovations of the Internet, social media and smartphone apps. SideCar provides a 10-point safety system that includes community feedback on drivers, GPS tracking of the vehicles, electronic background checks and our unique ability to share details of a trip with others.
SideCar responds to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)
SideCar responded yesterday to the CPUC’s order to institute rulemaking on ridesharing “to protect public safety” and encourage technology innovation in transportation. In our comments and recommendations to the CPUC we argue that SideCar is not only safe, it’s safer than taxis and limos. We also point out that the current safety regulations for taxis and limos don’t appear to be based on data and are probably a result of historical, political and industry pressure. For example, did you know drug testing is not required to become a cab driver in San Francisco? Are you aware that a convicted felon can get a license to drive a limo in California because no background checks are required?
SideCar’s response yesterday lays the groundwork for the future of transportation. California is poised to become a global leader in the transportation information technology revolution but first we must figure out how to encourage innovation rather than stifle it. What works in California is often copied around the world, so these decisions have global implications. Here are highlights of our comments to the CPUC:
If you want safety, build community
Sidecar believes that the stronger our community, the better the safety. The SideCar community sets and enforces high standards for safety and quality. Drivers and riders rate one another and people with low ratings are removed from the SideCar community. We believe that by giving the community the capability to monitor itself we can build trust and safety to a level impossible to achieve through either the marketplace or government alone. The combination of these features and processes provides consumers with a greater degree of security and safety than taxi or limos.
A bright line needs to be drawn for rideshare
SideCar enables true rideshare because it is the only smartphone enabled transportation solution that requires destination at the start of a ride. Simply put, rideshare is not rideshare if the driver doesn’t first know where he or she is going. SideCar is the only service cited by the CPUC that enables its community to use the safe harbor of the ridesharing provisions because only SideCar requires destination from riders and shows it to drivers. Setting a maximum amount of money that can be earned would also provide clarity for drivers and insurers.
Destination builds safety and trust
Unique to SideCar is that both passenger and driver know where the car is headed. Drivers have peace of mind that they won’t be asked to drive somewhere they aren’t comfortable. Passengers have confidence that the driver knows where they are going. And because destination is required, riders can share where they’re going and live updates of their trip with someone else.
The good of the nation requires destination
Ridesharing 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 destination from the rider. Without destination, a smartphone app for transportation is likely to increase emissions, congestion and overuse of public infrastructure.
SideCar has the potential to transform and offer a fundamentally different model for addressing critical environmental, economic and quality of life issues across California and our Nation. We are optimistic the rulemaking process will clarify the ridesharing law by drawing a bright line that distinguishes peer-to-peer rideshare platforms like SideCar’s and those companies who use smartphone technology to dispatch and provide transportation services.
SideCar Technologies, Inc.
It is almost the weekend Seattle, and one blizzard of a weekend it is about to be! Well, at least for the 6,000 folks joining me and 162,000 lbs. of fresh, mountain snow in Seattle Center for Snow Day! I already know you’re taking a SideCar there, but don’t forget to drop in to the SideCar Lounge located in the Next 50 Pavilion to say “HEY-O!” to our team and take some photos in our photo booth. You’ll definitely want to catch up with me on Twitter as well so you can stay looped in since there is so much going down on Saturday. New riders use the promo code SNOWDAY for $10 in ride credit!
Since tickets to Snow Day have officially sold out, I’ve locked in a whole bunch of prizes for all of y’all that didn’t grab a ticket in time, too. All you have to do for a shot at winning is to ride with us this Saturday! THAT IS HOW MUCH I HEART YOU!
So here’s wassup: Every SideCar ride you take this Saturday (12a – 11:59p) = 1x your name gets entered to score some seriously rad prizes. That means the power to win is in your hands – the more rides you take, the better shot you have a winning! I’ll tally up your rides and put ‘em all in a hat, then draw winners next week. Ride. Win. Yay!
- A “Hooligan” beanie from our fam over at Rich Kids Brand (I’ve got more than one of these to share!)
- Tickets to shake it… but waaaaatch ya’self… with Mystikal, Dyme Def & more at NEUMOS on 1/24! Our pal DJ Swervewon is opening up so come early & come ready to dance
- We also got our hands on some Red Bull Records and “Wear the Trail Ends” merch from our friends at Red Bull Seattle
- A pair of tickets to the annual Dancing on the Valentine benefit for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society at NEUMOS on 2/9 sponsored by our very special friends at City Arts
- Our rockstar friends Ben Union have got a signed poster and a copy of their new album for someone special
- AND a few boxes of very delicious and nutritious KIND snack bars
To make it extra sweet, the SideCar rider who takes the most total rides on Saturday will get $50 in ride credit and one of our brand spankin’ new t-shirts! We’ve got a whole bunch of rad, local drivers ready to get you around safely this weekend so start making those Saturday plans.
Until next time, #RideOn!
P.S. Need somewhere to take your SideCar on Saturday night? Set your location drop to the Crocodile in Belltown where those wild and crazy Ben Union boys are celebrating the release of their latest album with a live show and a whole lotta whiskey. I’m heading there after Snow Day for sure. Tickets are still available, cop yours online here! You drink and we’ll drive.
*See that glowing marquee up top? You can check it out in person at Snow Day. It was made just for us by Seattle TaskRabbit Madeline R.
We’re always looking for ways to improve the SideCar experience for our community of riders and drivers. With today’s latest update (v1.544) you’ll see that we’ve modified our donations model from the floating “community average” to the more stable “suggested donation.”
We’re doing this in response to SideCar riders telling us that they’d like to donate more to great drivers without driving up the community average donation for all. So as of today, the donations displayed will no longer be the true floating average, as it has been. Instead, they will be stable and reasonable for both riders and drivers. If you’ve had a great ride, moving forward you should feel free to donate as much as you want to your awesome driver. They’ll certainly appreciate it!
With over 100,000 rides under our belt, we know the average donation for rides all over San Francisco and Seattle. We’ll put this information to good use by generating a suggested donation based on the average for your ride. As always, donations are completely voluntary with SideCar.
This New Year’s Eve in San Francisco, as a way to surprise and delight a few lucky SideCar riders, we launched the first ever #SideBus. Cruising around SF and accepting random rides, the #SideBus was a completely complimentary affair and could carry up to 20 lucky folks. Here’s how things went, according to our intrepid #SideBus Captain/City Manager, Chris Dally, and his loyal crew Jeff and Sumeet:
The night started off with a bang when tons of drivers met us at the Safeway parking lot to grab party favors like Red Bull, water, mints, gum, etc… All fun stuff to hand out to riders (or keep for themselves). Our party favors went pretty quick but weere stocked with enough water, Red Bull, gum and rave sticks to satisfy everyone. It was cool — the drivers loved the bus and enjoyed the impromptu social gathering/NYE send-off. It was gonna be a big night… no better way start it off than to huddle up before heading out.
The #SideBus got rolling just after 7:30 PM and the first highlight occurred on our second trip when we accepted a first time SideCar user’s ride request. He just so happened to have moved from NYC three days earlier and had a crew of 12 friends with him. Needless to say, we changed this guy’s night. The surprise and excitement of his friends was palpable. We drove around for a while with them as they partied and even stopped off to pick up more of their stunned friends before ultimately dropping them off at their destination. This crew had a blast and so did we.
As we picked groups up throughout the night, we rolled through parts of town that were absolutely slammed with people… Mission, Marina, Hayes Valley, North Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf. I couldn’t count how many peeps turned and look and waved at the #SideBus as we crawled in traffic down the Embarcadero and on to Market 30 minutes before the fireworks were set off over the Ferry Building.
Just after midnight we picked up a girl who was by herself, stranded and freezing in her red party dress. We swooped by to get her and then drove over to the Marina and picked up 10 of her friends. During the ride over there, it was hard not to smile at how in shock and absolutely thrilled this girl was that a party bus had come to pick her up. Not only did we save her, but we turned her into a hero with her friends and put a big shining disco ball of light into her night.
The #SideBus cruised into the wee hours (4am to be exact) before retiring. Something tells me this won’t be her last voyage though.
Happy New Year All!