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Ride.com has shut down its carpool service, blaming the move on low gas prices leading to low user interest. After giving its last ride Friday, the company will no longer be providing shuttle service for commuters. But Ride has decided to pivot to focus on providing transportation to families.
In a post on Hacker News, the company states that the Ride app has been removed from both the App Store and the Google Play store. Credit card information, as well as bank account numbers that have been gathered “will be destroyed from our payment partner’s database,” the company promised. “Ride will no longer use your financial data such as credit card or bank account numbers for any purposes.”
Launched last year, Ride was a ridesharing service to help employees connect with one another to save money on their daily commutes. The company’s CEO, Ann Fandozzi, told VentureBeat at the time: “Companies that are interested have a lot of people who have an arduous commute of 30 minutes or more, have parking lot pressure, and a sustainability goal.”
But Ride’s service was less along the lines of Chariot, Uber, or Lyft and more akin to what Zimride offered before it pivoted to Lyft. The service was available only as a perk through your employer, and your driver or passenger was someone you worked with. Commuters would download an app and fill out a survey to find out whether they would be the driver or the passenger — determined by a host of information, such as days worked, the time you arrived or left, and where you lived.
The company is owned by TPG Capital and at one time employed Uber’s former chief technology officer, Oscar Salazar.
Although Ride attributed its decline to falling gas prices, competition in the space is fierce, especially in New York City, the one market it operated in. Workers have numerous ways to get around, including not only subway, taxi, and other forms of public transit, but also Uber, Lyft, and Gett.
Interestingly, in March, Fandozzi told Bloomberg that her company had plans to expand overseas “shortly”, but would specifically seek expansion in the U.S.
And while the work commute offering didn’t pan out, Ride isn’t giving up on transportation — it does have the brand name and web address, after all. Instead, it has set its sights on a more family-friendly approach, offering rides to those with busy lives and multiple people in their household.
But gaining a reputation as a carpooling option that’s “easy, kid-safe, fair, and game-changing for sustainability” isn’t something that’ll happen overnight. Ride will need to really earn the trust of parents. It’s taken HopSkipDrive a while to ramp up and get operations going in Los Angeles, Calif. Should Ride enter into this space, it’ll face competition from not only HopSkipDrive, but also Shuddle, Carpool Kids, and Uber.
Ride has not provided a timeline for when its revised service will roll out, only saying that it would apply what it learned from carpooling to “solve a big problem for families and kids.”
Updated at 5:49 p.m. Pacific on Sunday: This has been amended to reflect that Oscar Salazar hasn’t worked at Ride for more than six months.
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