The marketplace for rideshare services is fragmented. As a potential rideshare driver in 2009, your options were relatively limited because they mostly didn’t yet exist. The more normalized the app-based ride sharing trend became, the more transportation network companies (TNCs) began to appear in the tech sector.
There are, of course, key players that have dominated the ride hailing economy since the industry’s start-up and beyond. In order to weave through the best of them, let’s examine the top rideshare services and why the drivers are choosing these platforms.
Uber is by and large the most popular and widespread rideshare service. It was the first contender in the market, and has been working to disrupt a system that hadn’t seen any major changes since the 1930s. With brand recognition and a host of premium vehicle choices, full-time and part-time drivers sign up to drive for Uber for the options it creates.
Drivers are also attracted to Uber for its large user base. Many drivers who use rideshare apps maintain Uber as an option. The rideshare industry is slowly outmatching taxi services with the number of active drivers, with no small part of that due to Uber. The demand for Uber rides is highest in cities, but the company continues to grow and the market continues to expand.
Lyft is Uber’s fiercest competitor. Although its user base is smaller, Lyft can be just as useful to have in your driver’s arsenal as Uber. Maybe you won’t be getting back-to-back pings, but there is still significance to having Lyft. Many drivers even prefer using this service over the other competition.
For one, it can be less overwhelming to the rookie driver. You can turn the app on and pick up passengers at a more leisurely rate, giving you time to take breaks and hone your driving practices. The sign-up bonuses vary from city to city, but Lyft (as well as most other rideshare services) does reward you for starting an account with them. There’s a lump sum after you’ve made your first 25-100 rides, but the benefits don’t stop there. Riders are allowed to tip you through the app on Lyft, and the express pay option gives you the chance to deposit the money you’ve earned on the same day.
Via is about actually sharing rides. At only $5 for shared rides in premium vehicles, it may seem as though the money for drivers isn’t there. However, Via automatically gives you a 5-20% boost in pay for accepting other riders along your route, depending on how many passengers you pick up and how many “matches” you obtain. They operate in spaces where there is a lot of driver demand, putting fewer miles on your vehicle and eliminating the need for long-distance trips. The low 10% commission doesn’t hurt your wallet as much as Uber and Lyft, either. You’ll likely develop regulars and be able to build a relationship with your passengers. Since you typically work during commuter hours, your passengers are also easier to handle than night-time riders.
Gett’s major claim to fame is its worldwide accessibility. They’re dedicated to reducing harmful emissions in the the atmosphere through minimizing wasted time between fares. With the recent acquisition of Juno, a New York City-based ride hailing app whose driver-friendly culture gave Uber and Lyft a run for their money, the Volkswagen-backed Gett is set to make a huge impact on the rideshare economy.
Gett is currently available in many European cities, but has expanded to New York City and plans to take its business to other American cities. You need a higher level of driving expertise to be considered as a Gett driver, but the benefits rack up soon afterward. Sedans get $0.70/min net plus tip where SUV’s get about $0.85/min. With that and generous referral bonuses, the money you make is substantially higher with Gett than with driving for Uber or Lyft.
Curb is bringing professional taxi drivers into the 21st century. Rather than isolate CDL drivers from the ramp up of the rideshare economy, it caters to the long-time driving professionals. Passengers can hail yellow cabs in advance, and they can be tracked easily through the app. You as a taxi driver are fully covered under insurance and are paid based on how long the meter is running. Since your drives are metered, it’s easy enough to take detours at the passenger’s request. There’s no surge pricing option, but the fares are slightly higher and there’s a service fee up front to help recover costs.
Z-trip is an app-based taxi service that allows for customizable pickup options, sedan or professional vehicle options and up-front pricing. They are in over 30 cities operating with either a city-wide or airport only presence. It lets pre-existing taxicab drivers work through ride hailing and is available in many major cities throughout the US. Drivers can either use the Yellow Z service, which allows them to use their own car or they can lease a Ztrip car to prevent wear and tear on their personal vehicles.
Summon gives you all of the benefits and amenities of driving for other rideshare companies, but has no surge pricing. Instead, it has flat rates for busy times with heavy congestion such as events and rush hour.
Bridj is an amped-up version of Via. Instead of a large host of SUVs and sedans for transporting multiple passengers, Bridj operates mass-transit 14-seat luxury shuttles complete with Wi-Fi. Average pickup times are under 10 minutes, and you make a guaranteed $15 per hour as an employee rather than a contractor.
Have any more rideshare apps you find useful as a driver? Let us know in the comments!