From my interviews with a part time Auber driver and frequent passengers, the consensus seems to be that real-time ride sharing is the wave of the future and it certainly has gained popularity in the last few years. Within major metropolitan cities worldwide, several start-up companies have taken the initiative to meet the needs of consumers which has changed over the last few decades. Ride sharing is no longer just for commuters, chipping in gas money in a packed sedan traveling to and from work.
Instead of settling for a carpool with multiple stops in a cramped car, riders want on-demand service that will get them to their desired location as quickly as possible for less than a cab. Auber drivers have cited an increase in gas prices, delayed public transportation or no direct public transportation route to work, and expansible riders who desire to have a fun night on the town without having to drive as the main reasons why patrons choose these ride sharing companies instead of more traditional means.
The advancement of technology has made it easier to connect to these people and generate brand recognition. Mobile APS for these companies have simplified the process of hailing a car, selecting the type of car you would like to ride in, seeing how close your ride is to you based on GASP, and stored credit card information as a convenient payment option. Social media websites such as Backbone, Instating, and Twitter allow people to share hoots and stories of their experience using ride sharing and start a trend. It’s now cool to take Giber to a bar or sporting event instead of hail a yellow checker cab.
Gone are the days where riders are forced to spend an eternity in the back of a taxi cab as the driver takes the scenic route to your destination while the rider pays an exorbitant fare. Ride sharing companies charge a competitive rate that appeal to consumers. More so, there are coupon codes that can be used on their APS to give discounted fares and entice people to try it out. This reformed industry has also made it possible for students, stay at home arenas, unemployed persons, and older people to earn money as a driver which wasn’t a common idea before.
This opportunity greatly impacts communities and doesn’t come without criticism. Taxi companies are infuriated about ride sharing encroaching upon their daily business and adamantly points out that there is a lack of proper regulation, insurance, or training for some Auber or Left drivers. In cities such as San Francisco, there are plenty of people that either don’t have a car, don’t want to drive around in traffic and pay high parking fees, or ride the over-crowded MINI buses.