Ridesharing, an alternative to a conventional taxi, has become a popular way to travel. And, with its popularity has come innovation, and ultimately competition. As consumers, we have come to expect extraordinary experiences and competitive prices from companies we can trust.
SuperShuttle was one of the first ridesharing services on the marketplace, but last week it announced it will cease all operations by the end of the year. The cause, the dominance of Uber and Lyft, the current market leaders. So, what do these new ridesharing companies have to offer that keeps customers coming back for more? And, more to the point, how do you know which ride is the best for you?
Chances are you’ve heard of ridesharing services even if you are yet to use one. In simple terms, the way it works is that companies match drivers of private vehicles to people looking for transportation. The services operate in most large cities and cover all of the primary airports. With some companies, you can pre-book a ride and literally share it with other passengers going in the same direction, to the airport for example. Other operators offer the ability to effectively hail a lift from your mobile phone rather than from the side of the road or a taxi stand. Either way, the services use digital technology to link you with the service that you need, and all at the push of a button.
While there has been some controversy around the legality of ridesharing services, they have gone from strength to strength. Concerns about passenger and driver safety have been quashed by continued demand and, ultimately, success. So who is driving forward and leading the way?
SuperShuttle pioneered the idea of shared airport rides back in 1983. The idea was to help travelers heading in the same direction by giving them the opportunity to share a van ride. And, it made business sense, an alternative to a conventional taxi ride. By sharing rides, customers could get a cost-effective and eco-friendly service.
Travelers could book a van ride by phone, the website or mobile app, get estimated costs upfront and a 15-minute flight-related pick-up window. For those using the mobile app, they could see the van coming and know its exact arrival time. It wasn’t long before the company was servicing 80 airports worldwide.
And it expanded its offering too with no stop van rides for those who didn’t fancy sharing and luxury black cars for business travelers. Sounds pretty good, right? So, what’s gone wrong?
The LA Times reported last week that SuperShuttle will cease all operations after 31st December this year. The news didn’t come as a huge surprise after a number of its core airport services were pulled last month. The fact of the matter is that, despite the company winning some victories, not least remaining the only service allowed to pick customers up curbside at LAX and San Francisco airports, the competition became too much.
Unfortunately, SuperShuttle’s offering no longer stood up, and the economic and operational viability of the company’s operations came into question.
SuperShutle has been feeling the effects of rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft for years, with shared van rides drastically decreasing into 2019. The LA Times stated van rides plunging two-thirds at LAX compared to 2016, a huge difference within the three years in which Uber and Lyft began operating there. The official line from SuperShuttle blames a variety of factors, including increasing costs and changes to the regulatory landscape. Maybe it’s something to do with high capacity on shared rides making trips inconveniently long. Or perhaps it’s to do with the alternative nonstop rides being too pricey. Either way, there’s no denying that the new ridesharing operators on the block have hit hard.
All is not lost for those of us who prefer the van-sharing model, however. There is something to be said for reserving a ride in advance and knowing the price far ahead of time. As there is for knowing you can fit a large family plug luggage into one vehicle at a comparatively low price.
Shuttlefare has been offering an alternative to Supershuttle since 2008. The company is dedicated to airport transportation, so if you know you’ve got a flight to catch, you’ll be in safe hands. Whether you need a shared van rides or shuttle, an executive car or limousine, they’ll have you covered. And, what’s more, you can compare the prices of all the options and make sure you get the best possible value for money every time you travel.
Both Uber and Lyft came from the simple idea that it is more convenient to hail a ride from your phone than from a taxi stand. Now, however, they’re two of the largest transportation networks in the US. They use technology to simplify the process of getting a lift from wherever yo
u happen to be, when you need to, without making calls or pre-booking. GPS navigation devices, smartphones and social networks make hailing a ride and paying for the pleasure a breeze.
There are, of course, differences between the two. Uber is the larger of the two companies, serving many cities worldwide and offering rideshares, taxis or private cars. Lyft, on the other hand, currently just operates in the US and Canada.
But, both have a mobile app that is core to their service. Passengers and drivers can find each other, transport costs can be agreed in advance, and arrival times confirmed. The companies have shaken the conventional cab industry upside down and now, as we saw last week, we have started to push out other ridesharing services.
When you’re planning how you’ll get to the airport, it comes down to comparing prices but also what’s important to you. You need to be relaxed at the beginning of your trip, so you might not want to leave booking your ride until the last minute, or even traveling in someone else’s vehicle if you’ll feel more comfortable in your own.
To make an informed choice, companies like Parking Access are there to help. You can locate the best-value parking for your departure airport and then compare the cost directly against getting a lift with the likes of Uber and Lyft. That way, you’ll know that you’ve really chosen the most cost-effective ride and you can save as much of your money as possible for when you land at your destination.
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