Home / Today Tech / Ride-sharing services guide: Taxis for the 21st century

Ride-sharing services guide: Taxis for the 21st century

Need to catch a trip to the airport, residence from a celebration or some place else? You may name upon a ride-sharing app — additionally and maybe extra precisely referred to as ride-hailing apps. The most well-known of those by far is Uber, however there are numerous rivals that function in the similar fundamental method: open a smartphone app and summon a driver who’ll decide you up and drive you to your vacation spot. Think of it as the 21st-century, smartphone-enabled successor to the taxi.

These apps service a particular position in the new mobility panorama. They’re completely different from, say, car-sharing services, the place you hire out a automotive to drive for your self for a brief interval (assume Zipcar or Car2Go), and so they’re additionally distinct from car subscription services, the place you enroll for a versatile kind of automotive leasing. These ride-hailing services are particularly designed round having any individual else do the driving for you.

Ride-sharing services are in all probability not a cost-effective selection if, say, you might want to commute an extended distance to your job each single day. But for different journeys the place driving does not make sense, these apps may be massively useful. Here’s our information to what you might want to learn about the main gamers in the ride-sharing house.

Uber smartphone app

Jake Holmes/Roadshow


Without query the finest identified — and, owing to a number of high-profile scandals, maybe the most notorious — ride-hailing app, Uber began operations in 2010. As of November 2018, the firm says it has supplied four billion journeys worldwide, with Uber working in additional than 600 cities in over 65 nations; 15 million Uber journeys are claimed to be accomplished every day.

Uber permits customers to pick out their vacation spot on the firm’s smartphone app and request a trip; close by drivers can then select to come back and decide up the consumer. Uber additionally permits for scheduling a trip prematurely, or for saving prices by carpooling with others by selecting the Uberpool choice. Prices can rise when lots of people are utilizing Uber — e.g., throughout rush hour or inclement climate — and are mirrored with so-called surge pricing.  One latest addition is Ride Pass, which for $14.99 monthly (or $24.99/month in Los Angeles) ensures customers will obtain low fares even in durations of excessive demand.

Uber can be pursuing a number of different avenues of enterprise development. The firm was testing self-driving autos, however stopped after an autonomous prototype was involved in a fatal crash. The firm can be rolling out electric scooters and beforehand acquired the Jump bike-sharing service, believing these modes of transport will make more sense for short journeys. Long-term, Uber has even hinted it needs to develop flying cars.

Lyft PR photo



Lyft is maybe the second best-known ride-sharing service after Uber. It began in 2012 and, as of September 2018, mentioned customers had accomplished 1 billion rides, with 10 million rides each week. Lyft is on the market in all 50 US states in addition to Ontario, Canada. Lyft customers use a smartphone app to select their vacation spot and request a trip from a driver. Riders may also get monetary savings by splitting rides with different Lyft customers; the firm calls this Shared Rides.

Lyft has not too long ago trialed some completely different pricing methods. For occasion, Lyft supplied a 30-day ride subscription plan that prices $299 monthly and has tried out promotions to encourage customers to stop using their personal cars in favor of the app. The firm additionally has a new deal with AAA that might give members free rides to and from car-repair amenities.

Like Uber, Lyft has been exploring different mobility avenues: electric scooters, bike sharing and even autonomous vehicles.



Waze CarPool

Waze started as a crowd-sourced navigation app, however it’s now providing a ride-sharing function referred to as Waze CarPool. Drivers can choose to look for and decide up different individuals who is likely to be taking an analogous journey. Drivers can set a worth for the trip, whereas potential riders can search for individuals with whom they could wish to commute. Waze does not seem to mean (at the very least for now) this to develop into a full-time, gig-economy kind app, as drivers can solely drive two carpools every day. Instead, the objective seems to be serving to scale back site visitors throughout busy commuting durations. The service is at present offered nationwide in the US.


RideAustin is, as its title suggests, a ride-hailing app distinctive to the larger Austin, Texas metro space. A nonprofit, the service launched in June 2016 after Uber and Lyft each pulled out of the Austin space; the firms complained that Austin legal guidelines required ride-hail drivers be fingerprinted as a part of a background test. After state legislation modified in 2017, both companies returned to Austin, however RideAustin continues to function.

RideAustin works largely like Uber, Lyft and most different ride-sharing apps. Smartphone customers can request a trip by way of the RideAustin smartphone app, although it does not help carpooling or scheduling rides prematurely. The app additionally has a Female Driver Mode that permits girls to request solely feminine drivers. A Round Up function permits riders to “round up” their fare to the subsequent greenback quantity, with the further change donated to native Austin-area charities.



BMW ReachNow

BMW’s ReachNow service is primarily targeted on car-sharing, however it does have restricted ride-hailing options in Seattle, Washington. (BMW claims it is the solely service letting you select to trip or drive from one app.) As the title suggests, your trip will all the time be in a BMW, and ReachNow guarantees you should use its app to preselect the radio station and climate-control temperature in the automotive. There’s additionally no surge pricing and you’ll schedule a trip as much as seven days forward of time.


Safr is a ride-sharing app aimed solely at girls riders and drivers. The service has an in depth background test to bolster security and likewise says it pays its drivers greater than another ride-share apps, noting that feminine ride-share drivers are inclined to earn a 3rd lower than males when driving for different services. The service is at present out there solely in Boston, however Safr says on its web site, “we will continue to launch in new cities as soon as we can.”


HopSkipDrive is ride-sharing for children. Parents can order and schedule rides for kids aged 6 and older utilizing the smartphone app. For security, the firm says it fingerprints and certifies its drivers, moreover requiring that they’ve at the very least 5 years of child-care expertise. Kids additionally get a “code word” to verify the individual choosing them up is the proper driver, and oldsters can monitor the trip on-line remotely. Parents may also coordinate a carpool by the app with different dad and mom.

HopSkipDrive screenshot



Based in San Francisco, Wingz is a more moderen ride-hailing app that at present serves 16 metro areas and 22 airports in the US; you could find the full checklist of areas on the firm’s web site. Though usually just like the likes of Uber and Lyft, Wingz does supply a number of distinctive options. Riders can e-book a visit as much as two months forward of time, there is not any surge pricing throughout busy durations, and riders can request a particular driver with whom they have a great relationship.

Juno (Gett)

Ride-share startups Gett and Juno joined collectively to kind one service, which at present operates in New York City in the US. (Gett has some operations in different nations.) Juno guarantees it offers its drivers a better fee than some rival apps and that it solely accepts drivers who’ve a excessive score from working for one other ride-hailing service.


Flywheel takes a barely completely different method to ride-hailing. Rather than enlisting its personal fleet of drivers, Flywheel as a substitute permits smartphone customers to hail a conventional cab — and pay for it — all by the firm’s app. As with many different services, customers may also schedule a trip forward of time.

FlyWheel screenshot



Curb Mobility was shaped in early 2018 after splitting from a previous mum or dad firm. It goals to supply services for taxi drivers and fleets, whereas providing the Curb Rider App for customers to hail a taxi from their smartphone — similar to Flywheel. It’s out there in cities all over the country and permits riders to schedule a visit as much as 24 hours forward of time. Curb says one among its advantages over rival apps is that riders know they’re going to be pushed by licensed taxi drivers, moderately than gig-economy staff who drive for ride-share services.


Via is one other ride-hailing app that, like most opponents, permits for passengers to request a trip from a smartphone app. Interestingly, it can additionally enable some commuters to pay for their journeys by way of varied “commuter benefit” schemes. Currently the five-year-old service works solely in New York City, Chicago and Washington, DC.


Arro is one other app permitting individuals to name a taxi by its app. If you hailed a cab manually (in New York and London solely) and the taxi helps it, you can even nonetheless pay electronically by the app later. Currently, Arro operates in Boston, Chicago, Houston, Miami, New York, San Francisco and London.

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