Recently we have seen on-demand ride-hailing services become a widespread phenomenon. In the United States, Uber and Lyft are way out in front but other providers – New York-based Juno, Fasten in Boston, Massachusetts and Austin, Texas and also RideAustin in the Texas state capital, plus Arro, which operates in six major US cities, to name but a few – have entered the market. With so much choice around, users are now strongly tempted to compare prices before taking a ride, which creates the potential need for a platform to help them choose. This is the idea behind Bellhop. The New York City-based startup, whose app is currently undergoing beta-testing, will rank in real time the various ride-hailing services on offer in a particular area on the basis of price, waiting time and journey duration to your destination. Users can then book their ride straight away in-app, without having to download on to their smartphones all the different providers' own specific apps. Perhaps the next step for this very young company might be to integrate micro-mobility services into its app. It would then be able to rate and provide access to the full range of options (public transport and taxis apart) currently available to the residents of large US cities. For example, if users in San Francisco, were able to see on a single map where they could find Bird, Lime or Spin scooters or bikes, Jump electric bikes, non-electric GoBike two-wheelers and Scoot scooters in the vicinity, that would represent a considerable time saving. Another approach might be to follow the example of Ride-Guru. As well as helping its users to save money, this platform also ensures transparency, revealing what proportion of each fare goes to the driver and how big a cut the company takes for itself – valuable information for anyone who wants to be able to make an enlightened choice of mobility provider.
By Sophia Qadiri