**Out of business**Sidecar was founded in 2012 in San Francisco. Its app, Sidecar, was developed to link riders to drivers in a cheaper, faster transportation network. Users simply download the app, make a profile with their payment information, and gain access to cheap rides all over serviced areas.
Sidecar is a great deal for anyone living in its service areas. The ability to choose price, Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA), and even car model, to a degree, is a wonderful tool for its users. Additionally, Sidecar is generally cheaper than a taxi, and it has the benefit of being a digital experience—all arrangements, including paying the fare, take place in-app.
Sidecar performs all legally required background checks and histories to provide a safe experience, and a user-run ratings feature allows riders to check the quality of drivers before they get in the car. Additionally, Sidecar has a 24/7 service center for riders.
The first thing that jumps out about Sidecar is its service areas—or lack thereof. While major cities like San Francisco, Chicago, and Boston are available, the company has not yet grown to the point of some of its competitors. Thus, those who want to rely on the app during travel to other places may be disappointed.
Sidecar is available in the following locations:
- San Francisco
- San Diego
- Washington, DC
Sidecar’s pricing is variable, due to factors like Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA), car type, ride sharing, etc. When users request a ride, a list of possibilities appears on the screen of their device. From this list, users can choose the cheapest ride (made even cheaper through ride sharing), or one that best suits their budget.
As of Dec. 29, 2014, Sidecar had the following rates in Los Angeles:
- A base rate of $1.96
- A time rate of $0.22
- A distance rate of $0.94
Regardless of which price you choose, the cost is decided before stepping into the vehicle, so riders always know how much they will pay.
Sidecar has a variety of rules in place to ensure high-quality services. For example, every Sidecar vehicle must be built in 2000 or later and each driver is personally interviewed and trained. While the types of background check vary by state, each driver is screened against the following:
- Convictions for reckless driving
- History of hit-and-run convictions
- Felony convictions, including DUI
All drivers also undergo background checks about their criminal history.
Like their pricing, Sidecar allows riders to choose their own wait time. A longer wait time might yield a cheaper ride, and vice versa. All available wait times will appear on-screen when users request a ride. From there, users choose the wait time that is best for them. In general, Sidecar tends to have longer wait time than Uber and Lyft. In San Francisco, a short weight time was 8 minutes.
Sidecar is easy to use and to customize. After downloading the app and registering, users simply enter in their destination information to see a list of available rides. This list includes information on pricing, ETA, and favorite drivers. Once a user selects a ride, the only thing left to do is to pay through the app upon arrival. A fast ratings system is also in place for easy feedback.
Sidecar drivers use their own vehicles. While each vehicle has been screened for quality and age, users can further customize their experience by choosing the car they ride in based on style. When selecting a ride, a picture and description of the car model appear on-screen, so users can choose quickly.