Friday, March 15, 2013

Viral taxi service to test local political leadership

Scott Kirsner @Scott Kirsner reports on the expansion of SideCar to the Boston, Chicago, and Brooklyn markets. He quotes a company press release:

SideCar works like a matchmaker for the perfect ride, using smartphones to connect people who need to be picked up with everyday drivers nearby. It’s a fast, affordable and safe way to get around town, meet new people and help keep more cars off the road. With SideCar, payment is voluntary and made directly through the mobile app. All drivers are pre-vetted for safety and are free to give rides whenever they want. SideCar’s safety system includes driver background checks, driver and rider rating systems, GPS tracking features and the ability to share details of your trip in real-time. 

Watch the local cab companies howl and use regulation to slow this down!  As Scott says, "Let the lawsuits begin." Will the Mayor of Boston support the incumbents or the expansion of "the innovation economy?"  I'm putting my money on protectionism, as has been his tendency in the past when there have been disruptive approaches to commerce.  It will be interesting to watch and see if there is a difference between him and Mayors Bloomburg and Emanuel on this one.


Andy Likuski said...

He have some startups in San Francisco attempting the same, as well as a privately-owned-car ride service whose cars are identified by pink mustaches dangling from the front bumper. It's all a great example of the sharing economy, yet most of these private car trips would be unneeded if Boston and San Francisco would follow the lead of European cities and build-out abundant light and heavy rail and cycle tracks, and pedestrianize retail streets. Europe is learning that the most effective sources of funding are driving disincentives--per-mile driving fees and high car registration fees.

Unknown said...

I love the innovative new transportation apps that are being developed. I use Uber here in philly and have really liked it. From what I understand, uber has had many regulatory challenges preventing it from expanding more rapidly, which is a shame.

Anonymous said...

Andy has a good point; it is also becoming very important to priortize basically forcing people to walk more, for health's sake.


jethro said...

If only it was as simple as the simple minded people want it to be.
I am all for freedom, so let the Taxi companies be free to pick up who they want and where they want. The Airport is regulated as to who can pick up; taxis need to get a hackney license from the Boston police and screw it to the back of the taxi; they need to post fares, and they can only charge a certain amount from location to location so it is FAIR. If you want freedom, then let freedom ring for all !!!!