R.I.P. Juno – Here’s What it Means for Drivers

We now have one fewer service for which to drive. Juno has shut down today.

This especially impacts drivers in New York City, but this could be a signal to all markets that competing with Uber and Lyft is too tough.

Losing Juno and Juno’s subsequent partnership with Lyft further cements the Uber-Lyft duopoly for contractor-driving work. Fewer choices for drivers can only mean there will be less pressure for the companies to increase driver pay.

Via: An Alternative to Driving for Juno

The remaining option we like is Via. Via helps NYC drivers get their required TLC license and best of all, Via drivers reported making $20.99 per hour AFTER expenses in New York City. This is much more than the $14 per hour earned after expenses by the city’s Uber drivers. Here we explain if driving for Via is worth it.

While Juno competed head-on with Uber and Lyft, Via is different. Via drivers get paid to shuttle multiple passengers who are headed in a similar direction. You stop only to pick-up and drop-off on corners. Passengers then walk to their final destination. This make rides much more efficient for drivers.

Losing Juno and Juno’s subsequent partnership with Lyft further cements the Uber-Lyft duopoly for contractor-driving work. Fewer choices for drivers can only mean there will be less pressure for the companies to increase driver pay.

At The Rideshare Guy we like that Via is paying higher rates and we hope Via succeeds if for no other reason than to motivate Uber and Lyft to retain drivers with better pay and treatment. Via is operating in select U.S. markets.

Shifting Gears From Market Share to Profitability

Juno’s parent company, Gett, has changed its Juno strategy from all-out growth to actually making a profit. This looks to be a corporate decision with the bottom line in mind. If you want to catch my Youtube live recap of the Juno news, check it out here:

Juno’s press release stated,

Juno is shutting down in New York today as a result of both Gett’s increased focus on the corporate transportation sector and the enactment of misguided regulations in New York City earlier this year. Juno drivers will be paid in full by Juno for all rides completed by Juno’s service end-date. All Juno riders will be invited to join Lyft.

Here’s what I said about Juno when back they were acquired by Gett for $200 million:

I was so impressed with Juno when they first came onto the scene. I didn’t completely buy into their whole ‘WE LOVE drivers’ attitude since we know that rideshare is a tough and expensive business, but I did give Juno a lot of credit for identifying drivers’ top concerns and actually addressing them with the platform. Juno Rideshare launched with lower commissions, 24/7 phone support, and equity for drivers, just to name a few of the driver-friendly features.

Drivers wanted to be a part of Juno and believed in their mission.  And while some drivers have criticized Juno Rideshare and said that they got way too much credit for saying they were going to treat drivers better, to their credit, they clearly identified the main problems drivers were facing.

But selling to Gett feels almost like Juno gave up on drivers, and that’s why so many drivers are upset.

When Juno first burst onto the scene, here was my reaction:

I think the average person vastly underestimates the time, energy and money required to start a rideshare company.  I get a lot of cold pitches about the next “Uber-killer”, and I often work with the more serious ones but rarely do these ideas actually become companies.

End of the Road for Juno

I was dismayed to hear the news of Juno shutting down today, but the writing has been on the wall for a long time now. To Juno’s credit, they entered the rideshare market as a hopeful beacon for drivers across the country and really capitalized on the driver dissatisfaction that continues to plague Uber and Lyft.

Despite launching only in New York City to start, Juno signed up drivers from far and wide for their wait-list and many drivers were excited to see a well-funded competitor to Uber and Lyft that actually listened to drivers wants and needs. In fact, our records show that from 2016 to 2018, over 5,000 drivers signed up to work for Juno (on their waitlist). Unfortunately, those drivers never had the opportunity to work for Juno.

Juno offered a tip option for drivers and 24/7 phone support (before Uber added both features), lower commissions, equity in the company, and more – it was clear that Juno was a driver’s favorite but ultimately where they ended up struggling was on passenger acquisition.

Juno’s acquisition strategy revolved mainly around deep discounts for passengers and while that worked to gain initial market share, as soon as the discounts started drying up, passengers went back to using Uber and Lyft. I think this shows how important first-mover advantage is in the rideshare industry and also just how hard it is to grow ridership when Uber and Lyft’s product works pretty well for the most part.

Uber and Lyft were an amazing experience compared to taxis so they were able to siphon off market share from taxis and grow the pie. But from a consumer’s point of view, Uber and Lyft are a great product and it’s proven difficult and expensive for competitors to take and retain market share since there’s just not much they can offer other than lower pricing. And that is only sustainable for so long.

Time will tell if Juno’s exit from New York City will create room for a new company, especially as Uber and Lyft have frozen new driver applications. Until then, we’re seeing Via pick up traction with New York City drivers.

Did you drive for Juno? How do you feel about Juno’s shutdown?

Will you sign-up to drive for Via? If you do, please let us know about your experience!

-Harry @ RSG