The Next Generation Of Ride Sharing

The New York Times reported this week that Uber, a California start up, has created an app for smartphones that let’s people exchange money for rides through their phones.  Uber released the app in 2011 as a way for customers to summon luxury town cars, but has recently launched the app to facilitate ride sharing and non-cash payments between drivers and riders.

Currently, Uber is being evaluated by the California Public Utilities Commission to determine if the company is able to ensure the public’s safety.  One of the requirements is that they conduct criminal background checks on their drivers.  I would assume that is only a requirement for the luxury car service as it would be nearly impossible to implement and track this in their ride-sharing app.

Even though the article does not discuss the integration of social media, it would be possible to link social media sites through the app in order to provide basic profiles to both parties. This would be very similar to the way that Rapportive from the last case study added a LinkedIn profile to email. Uber could let people get to know who they are about to ride with.

My questions for the class are:

  • What information would you want to see about a potential driver or passenger before you agreed to get in a car with them? 
  • Would you want the information as a way to ensure your own safety or just to start conversation?

4 thoughts on “The Next Generation Of Ride Sharing

  1. I recently used the Uber service in NYC and it worked seamlessly. However, I was under the assumption that it is a town car service like any other, and their drivers are registered/have a license to provide passenger service. Is this not the case?

    The ride sharing aspect of the business is good, because it is common for parties to travel together, and this provides an option to split the bill. Hopefully all necessary background checks are in place to make this a safe service!

  2. I suppose I’d want to see the same sorts of qualifications that cab drivers are required to have to keep their medallion here in New York. Not knowing anything about what it takes to get/keep one of those, I secretly hope it means they don’t have any convictions of drunk driving or other major felonies.

    Having that cab driver medallion gives me just the amount of fake confirmation that I am not hopping into a car with a serial killer. Its why I don’t ever jump into the black cars that come by and give me the little courtesy hink, or hitch hike. In reality though, that warm fuzzy I get from knowing someone gave them a taxi medallion doesn’t really mean they have any less or more of a chance of being a maniac.

    California is a great place, but there’s a much more prevalent belief on the west coast that people are inherently good. On the east coast, I think we’re the opposite. We tend to assume everyone is out to get us, so I think uber would be better off knowing that as they continue to expand over here.

  3. As an user of any car service or cab, yes I would like to have some information about the driver, especially if I’m riding alone. But, how often have I jumped into a cab with friends without giving it a second thought? Plenty. I guess there is security in numbers with that kind of thing. It seems that Uber is able to track their drivers and is somewhat on top of their movements for the most part, so I feel relatively secure about that if Uber is doing their part to screen their employees. I think I would worry more about the other people getting matched up with me in the car than the driver himself…

  4. Assuming that I am the driver in Uber, I would like to see the recent rating, average fares, request pickup location and whether they are punctual. This info give the brief information about your passengers’ character before you offer the riding. Uber is giving a mutual choice to both drivers and passengers. As a passenger, safe trip is the top priority. I would like to know whether the driver has qualified license, drunk driving history or criminal background. But revealing these information might violate the privacy policy. I think Uber might need to find a good balance point.

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