Since launch, Sidecar has always been about sharing rides with strangers. Now the startup is taking sharing one step further, with a new feature that is designed to match users not just with drivers willing to take them where they want to go, but with other passengers heading in the same direction.
Sidecar’s new “shareable rides” feature is another way for the company to offer an alternative to Lyft and Uber, by offering much lower prices than its competitors.
The company’s efforts to differentiate itself took shape earlier this year, when it moved to a marketplace model that enables drivers to set their own fares for rides, while giving passengers the ability to choose a ride based on price, ETA, or quality of the car.
Now, users will also be able to choose whether or not they’d like to save a few bucks by sharing their ride with another passenger.
The startup introduced the new feature in a promotional email sent to its users in San Francisco this weekend, promising big discounts for those who are willing to get matched up and travel with someone else in the car. The below copy explains how the feature works:
“To share your ride, open the Sidecar app and select a car with the “Shareable Rides” icon and we’ll match you with other riders nearby going your way. If matched, the app will split the price with other riders and you will save up to 50%!”
Sidecar didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on how big the test of shareable rides is, although a scan of the app showed multiple cars available that would allow passengers to share a ride and split the fare.
The new feature, of course, is designed to offer users another reason to use Sidecar, as opposed to some of its competitors. And it makes some sense, considering that Uber and Lyft continue to compete on price in many markets.
Sidecar isn’t the only ride-sharing startup that has built in the ability to share a ride with other passengers. Hitch, which launched about a month ago, is also designed to offer cheaper rides by matching up users who are heading in the same direction. In both cases, Sidecar and Hitch claim that passengers will pay half of what they would if they were traveling alone.