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.
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.