Predicting the future of any industry is always a tough task and rideshare is no different. In 2014, the industry lived up to its tremendous potential but there were plenty of growing pains along the way. I’m excited for the future of rideshare though, since we are still in the infancy of one of the greatest transportation movements the world has ever seen.
Companies like Uber and Lyft are changing the way the world moves and their reach is growing larger by the day. It’s been fun to be part of such an innovative movement and although there have been lots of ups and downs over the past year, I see a bright future ahead for all those involved in the sharing economy.
I’ll be releasing a podcast next week with my predictions for rideshare in 2015, but today I’ve brought together 43 industry experts who were gracious enough to share some insight and reveal their outlook for rideshare in 2015.
Below, you will find quotes from drivers, bloggers, reporters, professors, some driver start-ups and even the TNC’s themselves on where they think the industry is headed in 2015 and beyond. Enjoy…
Disrupting the car service business will be easy. Making money off that disruption is going to be the tougher part of the equation.
-Aswath Damodaran, Professor at NYU Stern School of Business
Brian Cole – Maximum Ridesharing Profits – YouTube
I think 2015 will be the year more rideshare startups pop up and Uber will face more competition. It will continue to gain more popularity as demand increases and fares continue to get cut. Uber is not invincible as their tactics have opened the door to more competition for various reasons.
-Brian Cole, Rideshare Video Blogger and RSG Video Course Partner
2015 is the year ridesharing goes mainstream in America. In 2014 we started to see that happen, given Lyft/Uber’s expansion into so many different cities and suburbs. But non techies were still getting used to the idea, figuring out how it worked, telling their friends. 2015 is the year that ridesharing solidifies its utility and role in people’s lives. In the States at least.
2015 is also the year that Lyft and Sidecar disappear from the limelight. Uber is too big, too rich, and too powerful at this point for Lyft to rival it even in the American market. That said, there’s still a place for Lyft and Sidecar users — people who think Uber is evil will turn to the alternatives. But if 2014 was the year of Uber versus Lyft (and it was for a good chunk of time), then 2015 is the year of Uber’s world domination. Even if Lyft manages to raise a bunch more money it’s officially the supporting act.
-Carmel DeAmicis, Staff Writer at GigaOM
Carolyn Said – SF Chronicle – Twitter
Predictions: Uber will use some of its overstuffed war chest to go on a shopping spree, acquiring smaller players in key overseas markets. It will not buy Lyft. Lyft will raise more money, but still won’t come close to Uber’s mega billions. More U.S. cities will create frameworks for the ride-hailing companies to operate and some international cities will follow suit. Uber will also get serious about logistics, offering last-mile deliveries in major metros. By year end, Uber will be clearly positioning itself for a blockbuster IPO.
-Carolyn Said, Staff Writer at SF Chronicle
Carolyn Yashari Becher – Hop Skip Drive – Twitter
With increasing adoption of ridesharing by the general public, people are using it for more and more areas of their lives. As moms and founders of HopSkipDrive, we see the rideshare model as a valuable solution for parents struggling to get their kids all the places they need to go. But, with kids, an added layer of safety and reliability is paramount.
We have designed several safety enhancements and procedures specifically for driving with kids. Our drivers are required to have at least five years of childcare experience, and go through deep background checks, in-person meetings, and reference checks. With HopSkipDrive, parents have an alternative designed specifically for kids, so those that have been using other rideshare services to carry their children (and violating those companies’ terms of service) have a viable option.
-Carolyn Yashari Bescher, Co-Founder and COO at Hop Skip Drive
This year I expect we’ll see more regulatory battles over ridehailing services around the world, but we’ll see most of them resolved in those services’ favor. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Uber, Lyft et al operating in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City by year’s end, for example.
We’re also going to see much more attention paid to the treatment of drivers. Uber will take the lead in promoting itself as a job creator of staggering power, while drivers will pen more accounts of how difficult it is for them to earn much more than minimum wage during off-peak times.
Also, I predict that Uber will issue no fewer than three public apologies in 2015.
-Casey Newton, Editor at The Verge
Clay Kasow- Zetta Driver – Twitter
Running one of the only services designed just for rideshare drivers gives us real world metrics and a unique perspective on the state of the industry and the rapidly growing population of drivers. We see firsthand that rideshare drivers are an intelligent and thoughtful group who are passionately trying to improve both their efficiency and quality of service. Passengers feel this and love it. IMHO it’s this passion for excellence that is changing/disrupting the transportation industry.
-Clay Kasow, Co-Founder and CTO at Zetta Driver
Chris Schultz – Kung Fu – Twitter
I predict that 2015 will be the year of the driver in ridesharing.
The explosion of rideshare over the last couple years has revealed the need for services geared towards helping drivers succeed on platforms like Uber, Lyft & Sidecar. Expense accounting platforms to driver optimization tools to benefits like insurance. Companies are realizing that there is opportunity in helping drivers win. Heck, we just saw the worlds first driver clubhouse, Groove, open last month in San Francisco. Big things are ahead this year for drivers, and drivers are probably saying “its about time, guys.”
At KungFu, we’re building a community of drivers and other independents to earn more, work efficiently and make sure the collaborative economy equally benefits the people who power it.
-Chris Schultz, CEO at KungFu
Ride sharing is the ultimate in the free market economy. It takes away most barriers of entry and lets any hard working individual become an entrepreneur. With the success of ride sharing “The Shared Economy” has grown into to other business models such as Delivery which Schlep is proud to be part of. It is an ultimate win-win, Schleppers make extra dough on their own terms, and customers receive a needed service at a reasonable cost that did not exist prior.
– Dan Fell, Co-founder at Schlep
With the rate that investors are throwing money at ride-hailing services, I believe these companies will continue to grow at breakneck speed. But, with that growth, will likely come more scrutiny from regulators worried about insurance, rules and safety.
In light of Uber’s tumultuous 2014 — with driver protests, alleged assaults and Ubergate — we’ll probably be seeing a humbler company that’s more willing to work with its drivers and the press.
-Dara Kerr, Staff Writer at CNET
Deco Carter – Hip Hop Lyft – Twitter
I think rideshare companies are groundbreaking. Because these apps are super easy to use, even a not so tech savvy person like myself can figure it out. The flexibility of the work hours is also great for people like myself to be a stay-at-home dad. Rideshare allows artists, musicians and basically all of the other creative types to make an honest buck and still be able to pursue their dreams.
I am proud to be a part of this great community of people that actually help people on a day-to-day basis. I feel like I’m making a difference in my community by getting people home safe and sometimes putting a smile on their face or just making a new friend. The money we make has taken a small dip but not enough for me to say that rideshare is a bad gig. I still love what I do. As for the future of rideshare, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some mergers and some companies growing together would be nice.
-Deco Carter, Hip Hop Lyft
Doug Herrera – RideSharingDriver.com
I think that there’s going to be a lot of interest in Lyft and Uber driving jobs in 2015, but the new lower rates are going to make job turnover even higher than it was in 2014. Many will try driving for Uber and Lyft and most of them will quit after a short while. But for the veteran drivers and the drivers who enjoy the job, there’s going to be a lot of interest in growing personal ride sharing businesses by joining new apps, trying new driving jobs, or seeking new training and licensing that can make driving jobs provide a viable full-time income.
-Doug Herrera, Founder at RidesharingDriver.com
I think when rideshare service was first offered to riders it was the best platform available. It was and still is convenient for riders and it makes life easy by requesting a car that will come to you in 5-10 mins. However its convenience for riders its not the same story for the drivers of companies like Lyft and Uber.
I remember working for Uber at the beginning of 2014, it was the best thing that could have happened to me. You use your own car, be your own boss, and work whenever you want, all while earning a good amount of money. It was great for anyone looking for work, in between jobs, or just someone needing to supplement their income a little.
Since I started working for Uber though, I have seen 3 price cuts. Ubers’ percentage has gone from 5% to 20% during that time. The price cuts are making it more difficult for drivers to make a significant profitable income. Sure it’s great for riders but not for drivers. Uber will need to do something drastic for the drivers and I don’t meant their typical “guaranteed $25/hr if your work from this time to this time type promo”. Taking into account the taxes we have to pay and gas we waste plus the wear and tear on the car minus their 20% cut makes you think wether it’s worth doing anymore full time, part time or even doing it at all.
Uber will either have to change their strategy or business model and enable drivers to make more money. If not, they’re going to face constant turn over with drivers leaving because they’re just not earning enough. Instead of enticing drivers with 100-500 dollar sign on offers and constantly doing that all the time for new drivers, they should just offer fare wages. They’ll keep a loyal base of drivers keeping their rating high and thus not affecting the Uber name.
– Edson Rivera, Founder at LTK Tech
Insurance coverage for drivers will continue to be a source of confusion until more auto insurers start to offer more policies specifically for TNC drivers, which I’m hopeful will happen in 2015. We’ve already started to see some companies coming out with policies like this in Colorado, and California will follow, but for drivers in other states, it may be still be a long time before they can find an affordable policy that is fully aware that their client does occasional commercial activity.
Other problems facing drivers don’t have as clear a solution. Some of these problems — no health or workers’ compensation insurance, for example — would be solved if lawsuits arguing that drivers should be classified as employees are successful, though that is a long shot and could take many years. Other problems, like dropping wages, could be addressed if drivers organized, though they can’t unionize as independent contractors so would have to turn to organized protests, which they began to do in 2014.
Uber and Lyft are growing in two directions: more customers and more workers. Customer concerns and safety gaps get plenty of attention. But these companies are also rapidly becoming large employers, with many workers who rely solely on them for income. When things go poorly, many drivers quit — and new drivers are ready and willing to take their spot, possibly unaware of the details of the deal they’re getting into. I think driver-related issues will become more important and more visible as the workforce grows and will hopefully spur some new options for drivers who want to get more protections similar to a traditional job.
Oh, and one more thing: I think 2015 will see some changes in the driver background check process, likely adding some sort of biometric or personal identifier step beyond what is currently required. Uber has hinted at it and both companies have had this highlighted in various lawsuits and settlements against them.
– Ellen Huet, Reporter at Forbes
Greg Muender – Whttl – Twitter
We see it shaping up to be a year to get a little bit more granular. Lyft, Sidecar, Uber, have done a great job appealing to most users, but we see new entrants hitting the market for the niche categories.
For kids to and fro soccer practice, Shuddle launched.
For rides for the elderly, Lift Hero is there.
For women, SheTaxi promises a ride tailored just for them.
And for daily commuters, we have Chariot and Loup.
-Greg Muender, Founder at Whttl
Isaac Alfandry- The Black Car Guy – Twitter
Uber will continue it’s market dominance but legal challenges will mount regarding background checks and drivers behaving badly. Both Lyft and Uber will suppress rates, forge new partnerships with the travel, auto financing and health care industries. Driver turnover will reach record levels as many experience the high cost of doing business, not withstanding continued soft fuel prices.
– Isaac Alfandry, Founder at The Black Car Guy
I think ridesharing is poised to encounter a slew of regulatory issues in 2015 that might prove difficult (but not impossible) to navigate—especially auto insurance. As more and more drivers take on driving for Uber and Lyft as part-time income, insurance companies are becoming increasingly wise to the fact that people are relying on personal policies to cover commercial work. Eventually, I bet we’ll see some kind of hybrid policy developed by insurers, but the current model doesn’t seem sustainable to me. I tend to ask my Uber drivers about this, because I’m nosy, and more often than not they respond that their insurance company doesn’t know they driver for Uber. It will be interesting to see how the insurance industry adapts, especially if growth of ridesharing continues at such an exponential pace.
-Jaime Netzer, Editor at Quoted/The Zebra
Jeffrey Pang – Breeze – Twitter
Ridesharing is changing the urban workforce, providing a safety net and flexible income stream to hundreds of thousands of Americans. Breeze is a lending platform that caters to prospective Uber and Lyft drivers by providing flexible access to fuel-efficient vehicles.
– Jeffrey Pang, Co-founder at Breeze
Jeremiah Owyang – Crowdcompanies – Twitter
Ridesharing continues to permeate the core logistics of nearly every city. Adoption is up, a plethora of startups are globally fighting for attention, and the media continues to hound on the tension between them and taxis and regulators. Furthermore, major car manufactures like Ford, Daimler, BMW, and beyond are launching car sharing services that will extend the boundaries of ride sharing as we know it. Expect that the future will hold a debate on the nuances of the term, from TNC, ridesharing, auto sharing, and ride-hailing. Don’t expect this space to go away, as the transportation startups in this space have been funded over $4 billion in a few short years.
-Jeremiah Owyang, Founder at Crowd Companies
In general, I think the rideshare industry will only grow. There is a ton of momentum–and funding–behind the leading companies in the industry, and I imagine that 2015 will see the development of new rideshare verticals like the furniture moving service Uber has recently launched. In 2015 we will also see an explosion of companies that launch to provide services–from insurance to tax prep help–to sharing economy workers, which will include drivers.
-Jessi Hempel, Senior Writer at Wired
Jonathan Cousar – Uber Driver Diaries – Twitter
My 2015 advice for drivers is simple – remember that Uber isn’t the only game in town – and DIVERSIFY! If you haven’t already, sign up for other services such as Lyft, Sidecar or Gett (in New York). You never know what these companies are going to do next (e.g. lower rates, put too many drivers on the road, or otherwise make it impossible to earn decent money), so diversify. Also, keep in mind that now that you’ve had experience with professional driving you’ll be more attractive to traditional car services which can pay a lot more. The main thing is – don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
-Jonathan Cousar, Founder at Uber Driver Diaries
Rideshare is not new, in fact it’s in our country’s DNA. In 1914, the Jitney concept was invented in Los Angeles, enabling people to share rides to get to work faster and cheaper with peer-to-peer rideshare. At the time, electric streetcars were the predominant source of public transportation in crowded cities, but the lines to board could snake around the block. On July 1, 1914, one guy in a private car pulled up to the streetcar line and offered to drive people to their destination for a nickel, the same price as the streetcar. People got excited and more drivers started doing the same, offering a faster, more direct route since automobiles could drive on side streets when streetcars could not. And thus, the peer-to-peer jitney service was born.
It took almost 100 years for this trend of shared ride-for-hire to come back in style, but this time it’s not going away. Now more then ever, people are always looking for the best option for them right now–whether it’s the fastest, cheapest, or most luxurious ride available. The ride-for-hire industry will continue to innovate, giving people choice, flexibility and speed in getting around there cities. Ride-for-hire companies, however, do not operate in isolation. Companies like RideScout will intelligently serve information about all modes of transportation, whether that’s bikeshare on a beautiful afternoon or rideshare when you need to remain productive.
-Joseph Kosper, CEO at RideScout
Kevin Roose – Fusion – Twitter
-Kevin Roose, Senior editor at Fusion
In 2015, many of the organizations featured in this blog will continue to address “the 1% problem” by providing transportation options for short utility trips. Ride hailing and autonomous vehicle solutions really only address the ad hoc (or 1-5 mile) trip and do little to address the twice-daily tidal wave of traffic congestion that afflicts our cities.
This year, Carma continues with its focus on “the 99% problem” – those with a 10-20 mile commute who struggle with driving costs and spend one week every year sitting in traffic. Driverless cars and ride hailing apps simply do not address this.
We as a society must urgently work together to address the crippling commute. By pooling our resources more effectively, we could very quickly reach a solution that truly offers value (in time and money) to all of us. The crazy part is, the necessary resources are already in place. There is no requirement to invest billions of dollars in new infrastructure, all we need to do is make use of the empty seats in our ‘riderless’ cars.
– Lawrence Mulligan, CEO at Carma
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Maddy Martin – YourMechanic – Twitter
Opportunities abound for on-demand drivers in 2015, as potential passengers’ comfort levels continue to rise and city officials across the country recognize the impact of ridesharing on reducing road congestion and utilize shared data from rideshare companies to improve city planning. Despite low gas prices, I think we’ll continue to see a trend toward more fuel-efficient vehicles, but not necessarily electrics, which still impose the burden of frequent charging, particularly for high-mileage drivers. And no doubt we’ll see more car leasing options and support services made available to drivers to lower the barrier to entry and improve retention in the sector. At YourMechanic, we look forward to keeping drivers and their passengers safe on the road with our network of expert mobile mechanics.
-Maddy Martin, General Manager, Bay Area at YourMechanic
Manny Bamfo – Groove – Twitter
Ridesharing is one of several transit innovations of the 21st Century. There will be several more. When we look back and review the age of ridesharing, drivers and passengers will have equally impacted transit innovation. Get ready for a myriad of driver and passenger focused technologies that will improve the way our society moves people and goods. GO DRIVERS!
-Manny Bamfo, Co-Founder at Groove
Matthew Earnest – Disco Lyft – Twitter
The past 3 years have revolutionized the way people get around, and how people connect with others in their community, through the powers of on-demand ridesharing. Laws have been changed, insurance regulations reshaped, and safety requirements have been instilled to how these TNC companies onboard and operate. It’s all in the good name of progression and safety of its users and operators. As these types of services grow, more regulation will develop – in regards to set fares and contractor practices. The new dawn of moving and grooving is on the horizon, and we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg!
-Matthew Earnest, Disco Lyft
Matthew Liu – WhatsTheFare.com – Twitter
Lyft Line and UberPool will pave the way for true ridesharing, where more and more rides will shift to have multiple passengers. We’ve seen aggressive experimentation with rates, routes, and match windows in the headquarter city of San Francisco from both companies as well as Sidecar and a few younger startups. Having multiple rides makes a ton of sense for all parties involved. Drivers can earn money on a seats-filled basis while riders get to save. We think the overall ridership will only increase from here.
Matthew Liu, Co-founder at What’s The Fare?
Nicholas Hinrichsen – Carlypso
1) Rideshare is eating last mile delivery -> Uber has launched food delivery service in L.A.!
2) Rideshare growth is and will be suffering from political opposition in big markets such as Germany etc. but China may make more than up for it!
3) How long until drivers won’t earn much more than minimal wage? I’m sure there soon will be excess supply of drivers, which will squeeze their income
Nicholas Hinrichsen, Co-Founder at Carlypso
My current outlook on the rideshare industry is pretty bleak. The rates are too low, and the implications of the rate cuts are extensive. It’s not just a matter of cutting in to the drivers’ fare, but the caliber of the customers we are taking has also diminished greatly. I am used to driving middle and upper class clients. Now I’m seeing more strippers, drug dealers, drug clients, and various dangerous runs. I’m not demeaning any of the above, but from a drivers perspective, this adds increased danger to our routes. These are passengers that honestly, I feel very uncomfortable around. The fact is, continuing on this path, rideshare drivers are becoming exactly who we set out to beat: Cab drivers. As the pay gets taken from our pockets, more drivers flood the market, and moral declines, so will the quality of service we provide.
-Randy Shear, Rideshare Video Blogger
Rez LaBoy – R3Z Solutions – Twitter
As President & Founder of R3Z Solutions, a company leading the marketplace of providing Quality Improvement – Customer Service trainings, I feel that 2015 should prove to be an awesome year for the rideshare industry. Remember when the iPod became seasoned in the mid 2000s? You probably remember when most of your friends and family had one, taking away that special and unique feeling that you were the only one. Today, the thought of an app at your fingertips enabling users to request a car has become just as common. We must not forget that just a few years ago, the concept was a fantasy story in science fiction. Innovation has mysterious ways to surprise us and I think the rideshare industry has only begun to provide us with what it has to offer.
-Rez LaBoy, President and Founder at R3Z Solutions
Uber’s recent round of price cuts shows the company is still working to get its model right, but it will remain the dominant player even as the field gets more crowded.
-Rob Wile, Writer at Fusion
With the advancements in technology, ride-sharing companies can begin to accurately predict where users will be making requests and utilize this data to implement carpool services (as we have already seen being implemented). Eventually, I believe the long term result of ride-sharing is a public transit system of self-driving cars.
-Ryan Salmons, CTO at BuddyTruk
Ryder Pearce – Sherpashare – Twitter
Rideshare companies will continue to create major behavior change this year. On-boarding and driving for rideshare companies, whether 5 hours a week or 50, should be a no brainer for the broader population. I often challenge friends: Why haven’t you on-boarded yet? It will give you flexible work options. It’s becoming easier to efficiently pick up a few hours of work when you need the money.
-Ryder Pearce, Co-Founder at Sherpashare
Saul – Saul of Hearts – Twitter
I think we’ll see more court cases and regulatory issues play out as cities and states decide how to respond to ridesharing. I always remind people to think ahead when deciding whether to buy or upgrade a car to make money via ridesharing. The rules keep changing, so look closely at local regulations before going all-in!
-Saul, Founder at Saul of Hearts
Scott Van Maldegian – Max Voltage
As with any business, the rideshare companies will continue to lower fares until they see a negative affect to their business in order to maximize their profits. That is capitalism. Making sure drivers are making a living wage is not their concern. Until drivers decide not to go out and drive, rideshare companies will continue to test how little drivers are willing to accept. When fewer drivers are on the road, surge/PT pricing goes into affect leading to fewer rides given and less product adoption. This has not occurred with any regularity yet so I expect to see additional price decreases in 2015. Rideshare companies have chosen to only compete on price. In most industries, product differentiation is a much more effective way to gain product loyalty, but the rideshare companies have ignored this up until now. I don’t expect this to change in 2015 unless one of the companies hires experienced marketers instead of just number crunchers.
-Scott Van Maldegian, Contributor at The Rideshare Guy
2015 will be the year the driver support ecosystem matures for the ridesharing industry. Ridesharing has witnessed massive growth over the past few years, but the support and services drivers need have been slow to catch up. 2014 saw some interesting new services pop up, like SherpaShare, Zen99, and Breeze, and this year will see this ecosystem grow and mature.
–Shelby Clark, CEO at Peers
Simon – Rideshare Dashboard – Twitter
I forsee Uber fares going up by the end of the year. It’s a bold statement but drivers are barely making any money with the current low fares (without the guarantee) and Uber knows it is not sustainable for both drivers and for themselves (with or without the guarantee). I see the price cut as Uber’s grand experiment with finding the correct pricing in all of their cities. Lyft will also need to do something big to stay relevant in 2015. They need to get out of the shadow of Uber. Also, Sidecar will be finally making some headway in the rideshare space with all the negative press coverage and driver perception of Uber.
-Simon, Founder at Rideshare Dashboard
This will be a fascinating year for Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, and any new competitors that arrive. It will be interesting to see how each company expands internationally, and how markets outside of the U.S. respond. Let’s also watch how quickly UberPool and Lyft Line grow — if carpooling catches on, this could really help reduce traffic. And don’t forget about Car2go and BMW DriveNow — these car-sharing services are becoming quite popular in the U.S., and, along with Uber and Lyft, are helping people ditch their cars.
-Taylor Soper, Staff Reporter at Geek Wire
The rideshare market is ever expanding. Facing more competitions and lower rates, rideshare drivers got to find smart ways to increase revenue and reduce costs. With the right tools, like TripLog automatic mileage and expense deduction app, drivers can keep as much money as entitled in their pockets at tax time.
-Ted He, Founder at TripLog
Tina Wong – Metromile – Twitter
At Metromile, we believe that insurance for rideshare drivers is an important issue that must be addressed. As part of our effort to help answer this need, we have submitted proposals for personal auto policies to the Departments of Insurance in California, Illinois, and Washington. To-date, our proposals in Illinois and Washington have been approved. We look forward to making a major difference on this issue, and will share further news around this topic in the coming months.
-Tina Wong, Director of Marketing at Metromile
Before 2015, rideshare companies were in the era of feasibility: their main goal was to prove that both sides of the marketplace wanted these services. The continued rise of Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, and others shows that the answer to this has been a clear “yes”. As a result, in 2015 we’ll see a shift in thinking to “how do we make this sustainable?” The most important questions here will revolve around support services for the providers – because even with the best technology, these services can’t exist without their providers.
UberMan – UberMan Blog – Twitter
I still don’t think we have reached the golden age of rideshare. Despite all the press, there is much more shifting and shaping that needs to be settled in order for there to be a clear understanding of the industries true potential. When the dust settles, Uber has a clear path to become one of the most profitable companies in the world.
-Uber Man, Founder at UberMan Blog
Editor’s Note: Thank you to everyone for participating, I’m glad that I am in a position where I can connect so many of the industry’s top experts with drivers who can learn from their experience. I’ll be releasing my full take on the outlook for rideshare in 2015 in a podcast next week so stay tuned for that!
Drivers, what do you think about the outlook for rideshare in 2015? Did anyone’s predictions stand out or do you think it will be more of the same in 2015?
-The Rideshare Guy