App-based car services disrupt the regular taxi cab model.
Once, there were cabs. In New York City, you stuck your hand out and waited for a yellow cab to stop. If you were traveling at rush hour, or needed a cab in the rain, or one to take you to Brooklyn, you might be waiting for a long time.
Then Uber came along, with its almost too easy app-based ride hailing – you went outside when you got a notification that your car had arrived, and you didn’t even have to figure out the tip at the end, or wait for change; your credit car info was saved. And you could get a fare estimate before even setting foot in the car.
Uber is now a worldwide phenomenon, along with Lyft, its well-heeled rival (earlier this year, General Motors, invested $500 million in the company). Around the country, several niche car services are carving out their own slice of the pie.
In New York City, we have Via, which has riders sharing cars with others heading in the same direction (via, get it) and GoGreenRide, which uses only hybrid cars.
Women only car service
On April 19, Chariot for Women launches in Boston, offering rides for women, by women. Uber sends a picture of the driver, along with his (or her) name, but there have been many sexual assaults. Chariot for Women carefully vets each driver, and provides riders with the driver’s photo, along with a safe word.
Oh, and 2% of every fare, 24 hours a day, goes to women-focused charities (riders can choose one of 10 charities).
HopSkipDrive in Los Angeles and Orange County, and Shuddle, in San Francisco and the Bay Area, cater to children only, and parents get a text message when their unaccompanied minor gets picked up and dropped off. Children have a safe word to use here as well.
Have you tried any of the niche car services, or do you know of another local service? Let us know in the comments.