If you hadn’t noticed, a new mode of transportation has emerged in most urban environments. In addition to cars, buses, subways, bicycles, scooters and taxis, on-demand ridesharing has disrupted the traditional models of getting around town.
Companies like Uber who sends drivers in luxury vehicles to pick up passengers or Lyft with its pink mustaches tethered to the front grill and it's motto "your friend with a car," and SideCar; all pick you up in private vehicles. They, and others are forming a whole new way of thinking about transportation.
Each employ technology that allows passengers to summon rides using mobile apps on their smart phones (based on the GPS of your phone). The car arrives at your door and your are whisked to your location. When you arrive, your credit card is charged—including tip. And the price? About the same as a taxi cab.
Of course, the taxi industry is furious that they have been “trumped” by a disruptive technology, but consumers seem to be thrilled at the new option. “Why would I ever take a smelly, unreliable cab ever again?” said Uber-user Mike.
Today we are focusing on SideCar. The company was co-founded in 2011 by Sunil Paul, Nick Allen and Jahan Khanna with a vision to leverage technology to empower communities to solve their own transportation problems. They see SideCar as not only a better way of getting around, but also a great way to meet new people, see the city and keep more cars off the road.
Payment is voluntary and made directly through the mobile app. All drivers are pre-vetted for safety and are free to give rides whenever they want. SideCar’s safety system includes driver background checks, driver and rider rating systems, GPS tracking features and the ability to share details of your trip in real-time.
SideCar says it is moving transportation in a big, sustainable, community-driven direction -- one ride at a time. “Whether you’re ready to fill your car's empty seats with new friends or need to get across town in a hurry, SideCar connects you with just the person to help you out,” says the company. SideCar drivers are regular, everyday people, ranging from students and retired airline pilots to paramedics and teachers.
SideCar was launched in June 2012 in San Francisco, and quickly expanded to eight additional markets: Seattle, Los Angeles, Austin, Chicago, Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, DC.
The company believes we are just at the beginning of a shared transportation movement, that has the opportunity to bring about environmental, economic change and lead to a more connected community. SideCar sees its drivers and riders in the SideCar community as part of this movement and are helping to spread the word.
There are currently 50 employees at SideCar who the company says all believe there is a huge opportunity to disrupt an industry that hasn’t seen innovation in years. “We have the opportunity to fundamentally reinvent transportation through SideCar and help solve important environmental and economic problems,” says spokesperson Margaret Ryan. “We also have a lot of fun, all of which is reflected in our app and our community.”
Clearly, SideCar is reinventing transportation through technology, and a better idea of getting around town. With companies like SideCar, one day you won’t need a car to get around—all you need for mobility is in your smartphone and smart companies like SideCar.