Ridesharing operators are suffering during the current COVID-19 quarantine period as personal travel has been restricted to essential services. When the quarantine lifts, there is a good chance that ridesharing services will quickly bounce back. Prior to COVID-19, ridesharing had been slowly eating away at public transit ridership. In a post quarantine world, social distancing rules may remain for some time, and there will likely be a collective mistrust of tight spaces with other people. Ridesharing may be perceived as a safer travel option with less exposure to risk.
New ridesharing companies like BluSmart in India have launched with a differentiated approach than the ridesharing giants. BluSmart doesn’t depend on the widespread availability of drivers. They are using their own fleet of electric vehicles to attract environmentally-conscious customers while lowering costs and emissions. Business models like this will be more in-demand as cities strive to maintain lower emissions from the lockdowns while providing safe transportation options.
All-Electric Vehicle (EV) fleets like BluSmart are the future for ridesharing. The overall cost of operating an EV is dramatically lower than the cost of operating an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicle. One shared vehicle operator achieves an operational cost of 5 cents per mile for maintenance, repair, and energy costs using an all-electric fleet. This is a 2-3x saving over the cost of operating an ICE fleet. Those operators that start with EV fleets have a considerable long-term economic advantage and a straighter path to high-yield shared mobility.
The COVID-19 outbreak is almost leveling the playing field for ridesharing companies. A new service could enter the market and compete without a critical mass of drivers, while also offering a differentiated service that is more profitable than previous models. The solution lies in scheduled ridesharing services for corporations, hotels, and hospitals, creating predictable and manageable demand. With scheduled rides, ridesharing providers know in advance when and where drivers and cars are needed and can book drivers accordingly. Scheduled rides also tend to be more lucrative, longer rides, such as airport trips, where timing is important.
Hospitality: Hotel concierge desks provide many services for hotel guests, including transportation needs. While it’s still common for a concierge to make dinner and event reservations, guests are now accustomed to hailing their own ride. What if the hotel were able to schedule a ride with a local mobility service provider at a lower price? Hotel guests wouldn’t need to worry about timing their ride requests and could leave the timing to the concierge. Moreover, the guest could just have the ride billed to their room and take advantage of lower rates that were negotiated by the hotel. Guests don’t need to sign up for another mobility service, and hotels could participate in the overall value chain through a ride referral fee.
Corporations: Rideshare companies that partner with corporations can streamline internal workflows and save money. While corporate accounts with the largest national ridesharing companies are common, there’s room to serve this market with a differentiated offering. EV ridesharing companies offer environmentally friendly transportation and a more consistent vehicle experience. Corporations can meet corporate sustainability goals and benefit from lower negotiated rates. A corporate scheduling portal gives admins and office managers the ability to schedule rides for employees and have the costs billed directly to the company, saving employees the trouble of completing an expense report.
Hospitals: Millions of Americans* annually miss hospital appointments due to transportation issues. Partnerships between ridesharing providers and hospitals can potentially improve access to healthcare, decrease missed appointments, and open a new market opportunity for ridesharing providers. Hospital transport coordinators can schedule rides for patients via a platform that integrates patient appointments with ridesharing requests. Hospitals who have staff in high-demand during the COVID-19 outbreak can keep workers and their families safe by providing a sanitized car to transport them to and from work and also provide a driver for tired workers.
Ridesharing Corporate Portal
Ridecell provides a corporate ridesharing portal that’s designed to serve the needs of each of these three markets – hospitality, corporations, and hospitals. Customers using the Ridecell shared mobility platform for their ridesharing service can create custom, dedicated corporate portals that provide fare estimates before booking, ride scheduling, ride progress monitoring, and ride payment processing. Each account can negotiate preferred travel rates, preferred vehicle types, and offer direct billing into their back end payment systems.
Ridecell is committed to providing solutions that enable strategic market-entry and market expansion for shared mobility service providers. New companies that use the Ridecell platform and follow the advice of the launch advisory team can achieve high-yield shared mobility quickly. Existing companies that upgrade to the Ridecell platform can use our years of expertise to create multiple business models and expand to more markets and use cases.
* Source: https://trrjournalonline.trb.org/doi/abs/10.3141/1924-10
Author: Mark Thomas, VP of Marketing and Alliances, Ridecell