Ridesharing has become part of our transportat landscape — but alas, not all companies last forever. Case in point: In a recent post on the blog publishing platform Medium, Sidecare announced that it is shutting down at the end of the year. According to the post, all ride and delivery options will come to an end at 2 p.m. PST on Dec. 31, so if you were relying on Sidecar to get you home on New Year's Eve, you're out of luck.
The Medium post, which was written by Sidecar co-founders Sunil Paul and Jahan Khanna, certainly came as a blow for fans of the San Francisco-based ridesharing service. The company was founded in 2011 in as an alternative to taxis and public transportation, but soon also became a business-to-business delivery service. Briefly after its debut in SF, the company expanded to Seattle, LA, Philadelphia, and Austin; by 2013 it had become a full-blown, bi-coastal operation with additioanl hubs in Boston, New York City, Charlotte, and Long Beach. According to the Los Angeles Times, the company raised over $35 million during its four years in operation, but could unfortunately never keep up with Uber or Lyft, which are valued at $62.5 billion and $2.5 billion respectively.
If you were a Sidecar user, here are five alternatives to consider now that the ridesharing service will be no more.
Although Lyft dropped the iconic pink mustache in early 2015, the company is still currently one of Uber's biggest competitor in the rideshare market. According to TIME (and my own personal experience), Lyft is cheaper than Uber by about 75 cents to a dollar; it also usually has lower surges, though these surges still occur around the same time and in the same locations as Uber's do. When you download the app on your phone, you could get up to $50 worth of free rides if you're a new user.
2. SheRides Taxi
SheRides Taxi is a rideshare company designed by women, for women, aimed to make female riders comfortable by allowing them to select female drivers. When someone requests a ride, the app will ask riders whether they are women or whether there is a woman in their party — and if the answer is no, the app will automatically redirect them to other cab services. So far, however, drivers only offer rides in New York; however SheRides founder Stella Mateo has said that she wants to expand the service to other urban places like Miami, Chicago, and Washington DC within the next year.
For those with a bold heart and a true commitment to the whole "love thy neighbor" thing, or for those who just don't want to pay exorbitant fees for car rentals, Getaround lets you rent out your car and rent your neighbors' cars for as little as $5 an hour. There are no monthly fees or initiation fees, and every Getaround car includes insurance and roadside rentals. The downside? Well, as a person renting out, you're giving a stranger your car. As a person renting, you have to fill the tank with gas before returning. But there don't seem to be many notable problems with the service yet, so if this strikes your fancy and you're located in San Francisco, Berekley, Chicago, Oakland, Portland (the one in Oregon, not the one in Maine), or Washington DC, you can sign up for Getaround here.
If you don't feel like renting a stranger's car, you can easily turn to Zipcar. This service is especially useful if you're a college student, as many colleges are affiliated with the company and offer annual membership fees for as low as $15. For those who aren't college students, Zipcar is still everywhere; barring a few places in the Midwest like Wyoming, Montana, and the Dakotas, you can pretty much always find one near you, whether it's parked in a Zipcar designated spot in a residential area or waiting in the lot of your nearest grocery store. Rates vary depending on where you are, but generally it'll be less than $100 for an entire day, which can be made even cheaper if you split it with a few other people. Insurance is included, and gas is always on Zipcar.
Hey! Remember how before ridesharing services and renting our cars to strangers, we had taxis? The livery industry in major cities has been taking a hit due to the proliferation of rideshare services, but it's worth remembering non-rideshare cab services are still an option. A lot of people will argue rideshares are cheaper than cabs, but that relies heavily on the city you're in — and whether or not surge pricing is in effect.