Rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft have become exceedingly popular in the last decade. Ordering a car on your phone to take you where you need to be is simple, efficient, and most importantly, convenient. Ridesharing drivers can choose their work hours and drive on their own schedule.
It should be a win-win situation for all parties involved, but it isn’t really. In December of 2019 Uber released a safety report of their data from rides during 2017 and 2018. The most concerning information were physical and sexual assaults. Three thousand sexual assault were reported in the United States, including 235 rapes. The victims were nearly all riders and 90 percent were women. Uber reported 19 physical assaults that resulted in death and 107 motor vehicle fatalities. However convenient ride sharing may be, there is still a risk that comes with being in a car with a stranger, particularly during this global pandemic. Ridesharing needs to be safer, and it can be.
I founded RideConnect with the aim of decentralizing ridesharing to let drivers control their own business. RideConnect makes it easy for drivers to provide their service to a community of customers at a mutually agreed upon price. Drivers make a channel with a group of people whom they choose and decide on their own pricing, routes, and service. Drivers and riders must connect, either as friends on Facebook or by exchanging phone numbers, before they begin doing business. This reassures both parties that they are at least acquainted with the person with whom you are sharing a car. Riders know their drivers, so they never suffer the “ride denial” that many people of color and people with disabilities still face by biased drivers. Instead of taking the luck of the draw with their rideshare, riders can create their own network of RideConnect drivers who cater to their requirements.
We believe in solving transit problems. Eliminating ride denial is only the starting point. We encourage our drivers to organize their communities to overcome “transit deserts” unserved by public transit, as well as the ‘last mile’ problem of getting from the last transit stop to the destination, such as getting home at night. Our drivers can analyze these problems to offer transportation alternatives.
Letting drivers negotiate their price may be the best benefit we offer. Drivers can identify high-value rides and differentiate them from utility transportation. Let the market decide!
We want our drivers to thrive. We believe in the entrepreneurial opportunity that RideConnect presents. We don’t take any of the money that drivers earn from giving rides. Instead, drivers can subscribe to our premium plans with features aimed at the professional transportation providers that give them more options to make money.
By not taking a cut per ride, we allow our drivers to cater to a very broad ridership that needs particular services, such as transporting family members around the neighborhood, carting goods, group trips, hauling furniture, and combinations of services that make sense. The driver’s vehicle determines the type of transportation services they can offer. Drivers who transport their customers regularly become familiar. This creates the trust and sense of safety that is even more important with the coronavirus pandemic. Because drivers and their customers communicate directly, service can be easily customized to the customer’s needs. RideConnect drivers can affordably take a customer somewhere, wait for them to finish their errand, and drive them back home. Uber and Lyft cannot offer these services because there is no way for a driver to build a customer base.
Uber and Lyft completely disregard their drivers who are the foundation of their business. They fight to exploit their labor. When California legislators approved legislation in September of 2019 that made contractors, like Uber and Lyft drivers, employees, the companies launched a $90M ad campaign to overturn the law. The companies are developing autonomous vehicles to eliminate drivers entirely. Uber and Lyft demonstrate no respect for their most important asset, their drivers. We believe in providing features and functionality to allow drivers to build and run their business.
Uber and Lyft customers are customers of Uber and Lyft. RideConnect customers do business directly with drivers whom they know and trust, which opens up a plethora of opportunities for both parties.