Ridesharing

GM announced a $500 million investment in Lyft, an Uber competitor, and purchased the “remains” of Sidecar, the ride-hailing pioneer that folded at the end of 2015. GM will be bringing on board around 20 employees from the Sidecar team, including co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Jahan Khanna. The intent is to have driverless Lyfts in the future. With all of GM’s focus on new mobility models, maybe the acronym will stand for General Mobility 😉

Meanwhile, Lyft is adopting Waze as its default navigation app in an attempt to give the ride-sharing company’s drivers and passengers an extra advantage. In addition, Lyft announced a partnership that will enable seniors without smartphones to use their service.

A patent application published in January reveals that Facebook is looking to get into the ridesharing business. Recently, Facebook announced a partnership with Uber that would allow users to book a ride from Facebook’s Messenger app.

patent

Edmonton became the first Canadian city to legalize ridesharing services.  In BC, the government is apparently softening its criticism of ride-sharing business Uber, saying it’s only a matter of time before the service launches in the province. Meanwhile, in Québec, a coalition of taxi drivers intends to file an application for a class-action lawsuit against Uber.

Uber’s strategy in Toronto has been different. In this city, UberTaxi obtained a brokerage license while UberX continues to operate “illegally”. Also in Toronto, UberPool has arrived.

According to reports released over the last couple of months, thanks to Uber, taxi license values continue to decline. One report indicates that Toronto cabbies’ license values have dropped from some $360,000 in 2012 to below $100,000.

Uber continues to attract the interest of investors. In the last few weeks, Uber announced that it received almost $2 billion from Chinese investors to expand its business. The company’s Chinese operations are valued at $7 Billion and worldwide, Uber is valued at $70 Billion. Hmmm, that’s a whole lot of zeroes for an app with limited assets.

Uber has also partnered with TransLoc to integrate Uber into commutes with TransLoc Rider. We are inching towards Mobility as a Service. It will be interesting to see how transit and ride sharing companies evolve their relationships.

Oh, and just in case you missed it, a few weeks ago, Uber hit its one-billionth ride.

While most ridesharing offerings have been focused on urban areas, that may be changing. Mercedes-Benz and Via team up to launch a suburban ridesharing service.

And for people with reduced mobility, the Simon Mobile Application, a new application for persons is an application for navigation, orientation and parking designed for persons with reduced mobility. In Madrid, Parma, Lisbon and Reading, it provides access to important accessibility information such as the location of disabled parking spots or the location of elevators and ramps to access subway stations. With Simon Mobile, it is possible to compute walking, driving and transit routes and use step-by-step navigation during a trip. Mobility should be accessible to all, regardless of physical limitations.

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