Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Taxis experimented with shared rides on New Year's Eve

Have you heard that taxis joined in on shared rides in San Francisco on New Year's Eve? According to an UberPool client, taxis were using their own taxi app (FlyWheel) and offered a $10 flat rate for shared rides. This may have put a dent in the shared rides game on this particular night.

There is more to come, if the taxi industry band together and grow a brain to catch up rather than complain about ridesharing companies. However, taxi drivers can't change the way the public view them. It is not all about a ride app, nor it is about prices. People feel more comfortable taking rides with ridesharing services.

The big three (Uber, Lyft and Sidecar) are delivering thousands of riders to their destinations daily. These riders depend on a reliable car service to show up on time and accommodate their needs. This means that riders may want to navigate drivers. Even though drivers have access to GPS devices and possess city street knowledge, they must show respect for riders who want to contribute.

Taxi drivers are unlikely to accept rider directions. They may get offended to be told how to drive and which route to take. It is not a 2-way street driving with San Francisco taxi drivers.

Ridesharing riders have shared that taxi drivers are rude, inconsiderate, unwilling to travel into distant neighborhoods, show up late or not at all, and refuse to accept credit cards as a payment method. Ridesharing companies have access to thousands of riders willing to use their ride services. It is growing into a huge market.

Why are riders loyal to these ride app companies? Ridesharing drivers respect their riders. Whereas this is not always the case, quite a few drivers have demonstrated professionalism and good integrity. Whenever personal items are left behind, some drivers may go above and beyond to deliver these items in a timely manner. They don't have to be quick, but they make it their mission to follow the right steps. It is their smart actions that enable personal items such as luggage, cell phones, business and home keys, and other important items to be returned promptly.

Integrity and reliability sell these ridesharing services to the general public. FlyWheel launched a $10 flat rate on New Year's Eve to compete against ridesharing companies Uber, Lyft and Sidecar. Though the FlyWheel taxi app connected taxi drivers to many riders, this didn't change demand for the 'Big Three' in San Francisco.

Uber, Lyft and Sidecar broke company records this past New Year's Eve. Uber completed 2 million rides on New Year's Eve, which spanned all trips across the globe. Sidecar has its second best day in company history. We're sure Lyft finished second behind Uber for the most rides given on New Year's Eve. FlyWheel is nothing new. We've heard of this taxi app; how this taxi app works.

As we shared, apps don't account for rider usage. Drivers, reliability and quality vehicles have a direct impact on ride business. People choose ridesharing services and taxi services based on personal preference. As shown Uber launching an UberPool promotion, cheap prices can increase usage.

No matter how many ridesharing drivers are on the road, taxi drivers won't lose business. Keep this in mind; the goal is to not overpopulate cities with ridesharing vehicles. If ridesharing drivers don't make money, they will reduce their hours. Passengers hail cabs just as much as before. Taxi profits may be down, but opportunity to make money still exists.

FlyWheel is attempting to compete against UberPool, Lyft Line and Sidecar. Their flat rate prices managed to increase business on New Year's Eve. However, there are not enough taxis on the road to meet transportation demands. Bar goers and club goers need immediate rides at night. This is where ridesharing services bridge the gap to give secured rides. Riders have a sense of comfort to know a specific driver and vehicle are coming for them.

In San Francisco, there is high demand for car services. Taxi drivers have a better cash flow system than ridesharing drivers. They can sustain daily driving. Nevertheless, ridesharing drivers struggle to get on the road Monday through Wednesday. Trips completed on these days are not paid out until the following Thursday. It makes no sense to invest all resources on these days and lose out on busy weekends.

Smart ridesharing drivers have available resources to stay on the road 6-7 days a week and make decent money weekly doing this often. Taxi drivers are the real winners, but they overlook this competitive advantage with cash payments, tips, and faster credit card payouts. Faster payouts could push ridesharing drivers into a more favorable position to increase ride output with better cash input.

Good job FlyWheel for launching a flat rate ride promotion on New Year's Eve. Ridesharing drivers struggled to find rides on New Year's Eve. Uber drivers positioned in the North Bay made a fortune after midnight giving the highest surged rides of the year. East Bay and San Francisco Uber drivers didn't have the luxury to locate high surged rides because clients waited until the right time to request trips.

Cheap rides matter to an extent. Riders want social drivers who actually care about their needs. Taxi drivers will be always be in demand, but they need to revamp their traditional system to increase business. We just don't see the taxi industry competing directly with Uber, Lyft and Sidecar on shared rides/carpool services. At least FlyWheel is trying to make their taxi app appealing to passengers.