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.
CFO, SideCar Technologies, Inc.
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.
Driver, Rider, CFO