Sidecar is among the pioneers of the whole ride-sharing trend, but it's now getting ready to shut down its service at the end of the year.
Ride-sharing services have grown in popularity and competition is fierce, with Uber and Lyft currently dominating the scene. Using an app to hail a ride has become one of the most common practices in big cities and the trend is still growing. While most people have at least heard, if not actually used Uber or Lyft, many may not even be aware of Sidecar.
Its lack of popularity compared to the likes of Lyft and Uber is likely the main reason why Sidecar decided to shut down its ride-sharing service. Come 2 p.m. PT on Thursday, Dec. 31, Sidecar will no longer be available. This means that the service will end its operations on the last day of this year, and not make it to 2016.
"Long ago we conceived of the technology that gave rise to the rideshare movement. And nearly four years ago we invented what is now known as 'ridesharing' with an app that connected riders with everyday drivers in their personal vehicle," Sidecar points out in its latest announcement on Medium. "People loved it. It was safe, convenient and affordable, and it quickly caught on."
The company further notes how it launched a number of "firsts" in the following years, reinventing and refining the niche and making it safer, more affordable and more convenient for consumers to rely on ride-sharing. Sidecar eventually moved to a Marketplace model, allowing consumers to select their preferred ride and enabling drivers to decide how much they should charge for the ride.
Moreover, Sidecar also takes pride in being the first to offer innovative options and features such as Shared Rides, Back-to-Back Rides, Shared ETA, turn-by-turn directions, or Destination. Then, in February 2014, the company kicked off its Sidecar Deliveries service, and it only took a few months to grab the #1 spot in terms of business-to-business delivery service.
Nevertheless, the world of ride-sharing services is now fiercely competitive and the rise of Uber and Lyft has put many out of business. A number of companies gave up and announced that they were stepping out of the race, and it now seems that Sidecar is one of them.
Sidecar underlines that reinventing transportation was at the core of its vision, and it managed to do just that with its ridesharing and delivery services. Although the Sidecar service is now shutting down, the company's efforts and achievements will live on because they paved the way to what we have today.
"We are the innovation leader in ridesharing despite a significant capital disadvantage, continually rolling out new products that set the bar for others to follow," Sidecar added.
It's worth pointing out, however, that this is not the end of the road for the company. The imminent shutdown of the Sidecar ride-sharing and delivery service will not mean the end of the road altogether, but rather just a "turning point." The company will focus on "strategic alternatives" and start paving the way to the "next big thing."
It remains to be seen what will come of it in the future, but for now one thing's for sure: 2016 will come with one less option in terms of ride-sharing.