Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Latest, Cheapest Services from Uber and Lyft Will Upend Transportation Even More

By Emily Badger

Uber and Lyft, as they tend to do, made parallel announcements this week: The two companies, widely (and not quite accurately) synonymous with "ridesharing," are testing big new services that look, well, a little more like actual ridesharing.

Uber unveiled UberPool, in beta in San Francisco. Lyft introduced Lyft Line, a take on "personal transit" launching there as well. Both services are throwbacks to the traditional carpool as Silicon Valley would re-imagine it. Thus far, the two companies have wielded data to pair passengers and drivers-for-hire in real time. Now they're aiming to link passengers with drivers with other passengers, leveraging within their growing networks efficiencies where two or more riders heading in the same direction might travel there together.

The idea is both the logical next layer to everything both companies have built thus far and a sign of their ambitions to supplant much more than Friday night cab rides.

Trips through the new services would function a lot like they currently do through both apps. You call a car through the shared service. A nearby driver (a non-professional in his personal car) accepts the ride and picks you up. But then, on your way to your destination, the app continues to search for other potential passengers headed the same way...

Piling more people into fewer cars makes economic sense for both companies. As they sprint to the bottom of the market, trying to collect three and four-dollar rides — opposite, for Uber, from the high-end towncar trips that launched the company — the strategy could come at a cost to their other customers: drivers. It wouldn't make sense for a driver to ferry you across San Francisco for $7. But it might make sense if he has three passengers in the back each paying $7...

Likewise, a $50 surge-pricing ride home from the bar on Friday night might not make sense for you as a rider. But the same trip could suddenly becomes more feasible if you combine it with several strangers.

Read the full story here.

1 comment:

  1. The best way to evaluate these services is to take a ride for yourself and see just how convenient, inexpensive, and safe it really is. The drivers are all pretty awesome. Anyone who hasn't already tried Lyft, go ahead and check it out. Here's a $25 credit to get you your first ride free: or enter AIRLYFT7 in the payment screen.