Public transportation had remained unchanged for decade’s offerings taxis, busses, and walking. Then in 2009 companies like Uber and later on Lyft began to sprout up offering customers the ability to communicate directly with their driver. This shook the basic dynamic of most modern cities by removing the barrier that previously stood between the service providers and the recipients. This was all aided unpredictably by the internet revolution as well as the more recent Smartphone evolution. This societal progress benefited cab drivers by creating a cheap virtual avenue upon which cab drivers and customers can communicate almost directly. While the benefits are fairly obvious the history of these two companies and their struggles is not.
Uber, no it’s not a German company
Uber is a company grown in the city of San Francisco a lot like many other brilliantly successful companies. This company received venture funding and was founded in 2009 by founders Travis Kalanick and Garret Camp. Originally the company provided transport through the use of luxury vehicles such as Escalades, BMW’s, and of course Mercedes-Benz. Uber changed this around 2012 to allow a broader selection of vehicles. This was known as UberX and it allowed Uber to aggressively expand its operation to an astonishing thirty six countries. Clearly this country was blazing inroads into a new industry fast as regulators in many cities began to misguided harass the company likely due to pressure from taxi cab organizations that felt threatened. Most of the time Uber can fight through the bullying and create a safe legal environment for their drivers to operate within, other times cars get impounded as a result of the bullying.
The question remains to be seen if Uber can clean up its few shortcomings when compared to the traditional established taxi market. Problems such as late pickups and expensive rides make Uber a divisive topic in the minds of some of the public transportation faring public. Uber has many trials and tribulations left to overcome in order for us to say with any certainty that it’s here to stay. A lot like another company I want to bring to your attention.
Uber was not the only company vying for the Smartphone taxi service game, no Lyft also followed in its footsteps, albeit well after Uber. Lyft was founded in 2012 about the same time that some changes began happening over at its home town rival Uber. Lyft’s founders focused on a more refreshing set of goals than Uber. Working tirelessly to create a service that lowered CO2, as well as to help create communities that otherwise might feel isolated. All in all Lyft is a more human seeming company than Uber and I really feel that it will eventually pave its way into almost as many markets as Uber has.
Mobile phone assisted transportation applications are quickly becoming a real industry. Expansion into multiple markets, media recognition, legal recognition, all of the ingredients for a booming new industry are being whipped up faster than many thought possible just a few years ago. Personally I feel that the future for these projects is bright but in need of some more feeling out so that companies can better understand how to make the customer feel cozy and relaxed instead of agitated and anxious. Only time will tell what solutions they have in mind.
Today’s guest post was written by Eduardo Dieguez, blogger at Sunshine Limousine. He is a 1st generation American born Cuban that is currently in pursuit of his AA Degree at Valencia.