Uber has become a bit of a big thing within the last couple of years as you may have heard in the news. Fortune website states that the company now has a valuation of US$41 Billion which is a phenomenal amount and now one of the co-founders responsible for bringing Uber to where it is today has started a new app.
Oscar Salazar, previously Ubers CTO and third co-founder along with Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick, left the company shortly after launch and has now started ‘Ride’ which could help you save money commuting, using the simple concept that has made Uber such a rock star. An alternative option to public transport is something that is likely to have great potential in Australia based on the spread out nature of our cities. Although, to date there's been no mention yet of when the app will launch this side of the pond.
Unlike Uber, Ride will be a much more niche service depending solely on commuters and carpooling individuals, with the purpose of improving efficiency where public transportation is not readily available. The app will work by matching company’s employees with co-workers who wish to share similar commutes and save money, but I wish the app would also save us the time and get it here to Australia.
In order for an employee to use the app, firstly their company must sign up to Ride. Once signed up employees can download the app, enter their addresses and vehicle types before then opting to become a driver, passenger or both.
The technology behind the app uses an algorithm to pair users based on the location they are travelling to and the times in which they plan to travel. Typically the employee living the furthest away would become the driver and be given directions to pick up each other co-worker en route. The vehicles can range from high end luxury busses contracted by tech giants such as Google to start-ups offering shuttle buses throughout densely populated urban areas and one man bands.
The way the driver is reimbursed for their costs is different to Uber and Lyft. Ride collects a small fee per mile (US$ 0.12c) per passenger and sends the money to the drivers registered credit card before they accept a ride, unlike with Uber and Lyft where the driver is given a commission for their service. Ride makes their money by taking a 10% fee for each transaction processed.
The app is currently only available on iOS in the states so all android lovers will have to hang on a bit longer. Plus, if you were to ever fall out with an Apple fan for example, Ride’s algorithm allows you to decline a particular ride and it will try to align you with another driver.
This could potentially save commuters, as Ride claim, 100% of their daily traveling bill and with public transport failing to provide an efficient enough service, large expansive cities such as Melbourne could really benefit (once it hopefully reaches Australian shores). Tim Colebatch, the former economic editor of The Age, previously said "Melbourne is one of the worlds most spread-out cities, small islands of high density housing amid a vast sea of low-density, mostly single-storey homes set in gardens. It is inevitable that a city like that will rely on cars for its transport needs." The app could not only reduce congestion but also emissions, costs, road rage and potentially help you meed some new friends along the way.
The CEO behind the app is Ann Fandozzi and the CTO and Product officer is Oscar Salazar. Salazar said “We optimise the system and we can always find the best routes for you and also for your colleagues. We want your commute to be as smooth as possible while saving as much as you can.”
TPG Growth who bought the $100 million turnover van-pooling service vRide from Chrysler in 2010 hired Fandozzi (previously an executive for Ford and DaimlerChrysler) to run the business. Fandozzi then hired Salazar to reinvent the concept of Uber into a carpooling app we now know as Ride.
The company believes that it will help other companies reduce their overall carbon footprint and reach sustainability goals. Uber and Lyft do have their own carpooling services but Ride is hoping to become part of a users daily routine and not a one off money saving service like ‘UberPool’ or ‘Lyft Line’ as they’re currently being used for.
Ride has captivated investors such as TPG Growth who have previously invested in Uber and are now the majority shareholders in Ride along with celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher. The company launched at the end of the 2014 and so far has developed 3,000 users in the United States and just like Uber, we can't wait until it gets here to our shores. How long do we have to wait Oscar?