Ride hailing services are services that use online-enabled platforms to connect between passengers and local drivers using their personal vehicles. In most cases they are a comfortable method for door-to-door transport. Usually they are cheaper than using licensed taxicabs. In some countries the ride hailing services are regulated in the same way as regular taxicabs. Examples of ride hailing services include Uber and Lyft.
If you speak the local language, a conversation with the driver can in many instances provide you with inside information of the area which might not be written in guidebooks.
Amid concerns about low wages in the ride-hailing industry, a number of venture capital (VC)-backed startups have emerged to help drivers boost their earnings by selling goods, displaying advertising, and even crunching big data to optimize their routes.
But while dissatisfaction in the ride-hailing industry may have played a part in spawning a new category of company designed to help drivers earn more money, that’s only part of the story.
Uber, Lyft, and the countless other ride-hailing companies contributed to a reported $34 billion market in 2018, a figure that could rise to well over $120 billion within five years. The driving force behind this surge are the millions of individuals who have signed up to drive for these big players. Uber alone claims some 900,000 drivers in the U.S., and 3 million globally.
But the ride-hailing industry is facing a serious problem — most drivers don’t earn much once commission, expenses, and taxes are taken into account. A report from the JPMorgan Chase Institute last year indicated that Uber and Lyft drivers earn 53% less than they did four years ago. As the poster child of the industry, Uber in particular has faced fierce criticism for the pay its drivers take home, and countless reports suggest ride-hailing companies don’t pass on the extra fees they charge for surge pricing.