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SideCar Mobile App Offers Pay-As-You-Wish Ride-Sharing

New company pairs drivers with extra space in their cars and passengers looking for rides.

By Claire_Martin Jun 26, 2012 9:09AM
SideCar Webpage Screenshot

The call to participate in a new ride-sharing program called SideCar makes every future spin behind the wheel sound like a self-improvement exercise, rolled in with a party: "Drive when you want, how often you want," the SideCar website reads. "Meet interesting new people from all walks of life. Explore random, cool parts of the city. Promote a more sustainable future." 


The idea behind SideCar is to unite those in need of a ride with those already out on the road and heading in the same direction. Drivers equipped with a registered 4-door vehicle, valid car insurance, a driver’s license and a clean driving record sign up through the company's website. Then they download the SideCar application, which alerts them to prospective ride-sharers in their vicinity. Those in need of a lift enter their desired pickup and drop-off locations into the app, then wait for a car to come and get them.

It's sort of like car pooling with strangers, except that passengers pay for the ride. The amount is up to them; SideCar simply lets them know what other riders typically pay for a similar trip. SideCar processes credit-card payments, so money never changes hands in the car. The company keeps 20 percent of each fare.

So far, the service is restricted to San Francisco, where the company is based, but expansion should be a fluid enough process -- it's simply a matter getting drivers to register in other cities. 

You may wonder: What's the benefit over a regular taxi service? Pricing is the big differentiator, because, well, you pay whatever you want. But even if you follow SideCar's suggested payments, you'll save money. They're lower than regular taxi fares, according to reporting by Wired. The 30-mile drive from downtown San Francisco to Palo Alto, Calif., for instance, averages more than $100 in a taxi, including tip. The suggested SideCar rate is $64 for the same route.

The main downside to the service may prove to be timing. If you're in a hurry or on a tight time schedule, SideCar isn't ideal. As Wired's Sarah Mitroff put it: "Sidecar seems best suited for daily commuter routes or popular destinations, rather than, say, a ride to the airport for a 6 a.m. flight. Technically it’s on-demand, but there is no guarantee you can get a ride."

[Source: Wired]
1Comment
Jun 27, 2012 5:46AM
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With the rise of collaborative consumption and the sharing economy, the future of taxi service appears bleak.  In fact the future of transportation is about to be turned upside down.  The notion of having to call a cab to get to the airport or a restaurant will soon disappear as public transportation becomes more efficient, less expensive and more human. 
 
Thanks to Tickengo (an awesome company in this space), travelers are able to easily connect with neighboring citizens who have a car and accept to give rides.  There is no need to call a cab when a friend, a neighbor, or somebody in your local vicinity would be happy to drive you where you need to go. Your neighbors may already be going to the same place and would love the opportunity to earn a small fee to help reimburse their car-ownership costs (which on average are a whopping $8000 per year)!  A cab may charge $40 for a ride to the airport while a neighbor would do it for $20.
 
Thanks to the sharing economy and technology, the transportation industry is about to undergo a major redesign.  Taxi service is on the way out and will gradually be replaced by collaborative citizenry.
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