Rideshare apps have influenced how we get transportation in growing cities. In the Bahamas Let’s Go Bahamas app users can hail taxis from the comfort of their smartphones. (Photo11: KENNETH CUMMINGS, USA TODAY).
The first ride-share app I ever used — back in the late ’90s — was probably similar to UberX, its new entry into the market. A college buddy in Detroit got me hooked on the idea that drivers were limited by the number of rides they could give, and an individual wasn’t limited to driving solo.
Ridesharing was pioneered in 2006 by Travis Kalanick, the CEO of Uber. The app allows individuals to solicit rides from drivers using their personal vehicles.
Kalanick’s plan for Uber is to go nationwide, but for now, the company is focused on expanding into cities like Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Review-Journal recently reported the ride-share business is down to 500 cars, mostly those operated by Uber and Lyft. Customers are also complaining that the UberX drivers tend to take big fares and leave the little guys behind.
Another reason why the Vegas wait is lengthy: Uber limits its Las Vegas operation to a $5 a ride service fee. The company began accepting reservations last week and on Friday it increased the minimum fare for each ride to $8 — still a bargain compared to taxis. Uber claims to have 3.5 million users. According to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, rideshare is a lucrative business model that lowers congestion and generates revenue. The Nassau (Bahamas) Tribune recently reported the self-styled “luxury UberX” company has more than 250 drivers in the Bahamas. The newspaper also noted the app allows customers to book a vehicle and cancel before their ride even begins. That’s in contrast to taxis where customers have to pick up their ride from a stand at a designated spot. Lyft, Uber’s larger rival in the United States,