Ride-Sharing; Entrepreneur’s Dream or Innovative Nightmare?

GettyImages via USNews.

Ridesharing companies, a recent market development in the economic timescale, have been hailed as being innovative to the core. With the creation of Uber and Lyft in 2009 and 2012 respectively, an outrageously profitable new market was born. Speculations as to the future of large companies aside, it cannot be denied that the ride-sharing market will remain. Whether the future of ridesharing is a market choked by the competition of giants, or a swarm of startup companies competing with one another, it will undoubtedly be a future filled with new innovations. With those innovations however come problems.

Safety, security, and the avoidance of lawsuits climb to the top in the eyes of corporate management. This isn’t to say that safety and security isn’t in the minds of the customers, either. Many possible riders are afraid of the implications of using these ride-sharing services due to possible, and very real threats to their person and livelihood. On the 6th of June, the New York Post ran a story about how a Lyft driver vandalized a San Diego couple’s home after a very drunk passenger vomited in the driver’s vehicle. Sure, the prospect of a passenger erupting in your back-seat would put any driver on-edge, but such a risk is par for the course. These sorts of scenarios are not common, but leave a sour taste in the mouth of anyone who reads the driver-related horror stories. The security of riders are paramount to the success of the ride-sharing industry, perhaps more so than the profitability of the industry itself.

Kango, a ridesharing startup ran by Sara Schaer, seeks to solve this security issue in regards to utilizing ride-sharing services for children. Debuted in an article by WIRED Magazine, Schaer’s Kango, as well as other startups targeted towards minors, requires intensive background checks and driver vetting, before allowing them to take up the role. It isn’t to say that larger companies do not take precautions when ferrying around a parent’s precious cargo- but do they go far enough? Many states, especially larger ones such as California and New York, often have incredibly stringent rules on the transportation of minors, including enrollment in state fingerprint databases. Shuddle, a 2016 startup targeting minors and parents failed to get off the ground after spending its’ $12.2 million in funding.

Balancing safety and profitability is a steep slope. Uber and Lyft, the most profitable and largest slice of the ride-sharing market have on numerous occasions been publicly called-out by their drivers for focusing too much on corporate profit, and not the safety of their driver base. Drivers have received as little as 30% of their fare, according to Entrepreneur, leading drivers to resort to sleeping in their vehicles in order to make ends meet. Ridesharing is not limited to being a part-time income, and many drivers take the possibilities very seriously, even making it a career- reminiscent of the career taxi services prior to the advent of ridesharing. The challenge of the market is making the two meet- safety and profitability. What makes the rideshare market an innovative nightmare is just that. Despite the success of Uber and Lyft, the market is still in its infancy. Startups and giants alike do, and will continue to struggle with the precarious balance between the goals.

RideSpider presents itself as a model which intends to make that balance work. The security of riders is ensured through detailed background-checking of drivers, and the profitability of both the drivers and RideSpider is ensured by the set fare-costs and profit share of the drivers. A correct business model involves the belief that customers, and employees comes first.

Join RideSpider today by clicking on our Riders’ or Drivers’ waiver forms.

By Dennis Kerley IV, Executive Assistant, RideSpider Inc.

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