July 13, 2018
In the past, a person’s wealth was often measured in material goods, and a high-end car in the driveway was considered a status symbol. Today, with urbanization rates at an all-time high and more and more people choosing a city lifestyle, that viewpoint is changing. Even those with money to afford a car are choosing to embrace the sharing economy.
With unprecedented access to technology, consumers are turning to the sharing economy as an alternative to ownership. Nowhere is this trend more apparent than in the transportation space. While some fleet managers feel conflicted about the sharing economy entering the transportation space, there is much to be learned from this sector — and even much to be gained. Here’s what traditional fleet managers can do to stay competitive in a fast-changing landscape.
It was only six years ago that the ridesharing industry truly began, growing rapidly into a billion-dollar industry. How has ridesharing taken such a hold on the transportation space? Here are some of the features that make ridesharing so popular and ideas for how fleet managers should take advantage of them.
One of the main reasons ridesharing is so popular is that it’s highly convenient. Mobile apps that allow customers to quickly book a ride and track its progress in real time are preferred by the majority of travellers over calling a dispatcher or attempting to flag a taxi on the street. When the same app can be used to pay for the ride and rate the driver, it’s no surprise that more people are choosing ridesharing. Fleet managers of traditional taxi companies would be well served by engaging professionals to design highly-customized, flexible apps. With DDS Wireless, for example, customers can design an app that allows for the implementation of their own branding. From the customer’s perspective, much of the value of a ridesharing service lies in an easy-to-use app and excellent user experience. That’s great news for traditional fleets, since it’s an approach they can replicate. Many taxi companies are already turning to mobile apps, and it seems increasingly clear that the companies who will survive are the ones willing to adopt this technology.
Taxi companies are often at a disadvantage when it comes to pricing. Ridesharing is generally a less expensive option, causing more travellers to choose it. It can become easy for fleet managers to see this price gap as insurmountable, complicated as it is by the larger debate around regulation in the transportation space. In reality, proactive managers can put themselves in the best position for success by using a combination of efficient fleets, smart in-vehicle technologies and effective management systems. On average, companies that switch to TaxiBook achieve a 35% reduction in costs, allowing traditional business to compete at a ridesharing level when it comes to price.
While technologically-driven advancements like ridesharing have had a negative impact on many taxi companies, it would be a massive mistake to reject innovation as a whole. In fact, the taxi industry has an opportunity to embrace innovation and bring itself into the spotlight by doing so. Smart fleet managers should be looking ahead at emerging technologies in the transportation space — like autonomous vehicles, for example — and planning how to take advantage of the many benefits they offer. Becoming a champion of such technologies is an ideal way for companies to engage with tech-savvy early adopters who currently prefer ridesharing.
When it comes to the sharing economy, no one is more invested than young people. In fact, millennials make up 57% of all rideshare passengers. Taxis need to appeal to this emerging market in order to remain relevant. This younger demographic makes purchases differently from their predecessors: they prefer to read reviews, do research and know who is coming to pick them up before the driver arrives. Taxis should respond to these habits by putting a face to their drivers and allowing travellers to leave reviews after a trip has ended. Having all of this available in a sophisticated mobile app would go a long way to attracting a younger clientele. Position your fleet to be identifiable and transparent, and young customers will follow.
When it comes to thriving in the new era of ridesharing, taxi companies are actually well positioned to continue meeting customer needs. Established companies can trade on their years of professionalism, and as regulation around ridesharing firms up, the gap in pricing is sure to narrow. Most importantly, ridesharing companies are spearheading innovation that’s ripe for adoption by others. Fleet managers should pay attention to the lessons emerging from the ridesharing space in order to integrate these advancements into their own fleets.
Image: Shutterstock / Maridav
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