Ridesharing service Sidecar just invited me to beta test a new feature called Sidecar Commute.
Here’s how it works, as explained on the tester signup page: You pay $35 for a one-week Sidecar Commute Pack, then you can request a ride every morning that week, and you’ll get a $15 credit for that ride.
If I’m doing my math right, that means you could save up to $40 per week on Sidecar rides. So if you’re someone who uses on-demand ride apps to get to work on a semi-regular basis, those savings could be pretty appealing — if you use Uber or Lyft, it may be enough to make you switch over, and if you’re already on Sidecar, it may convince you to use the service more often. (If you don’t commute regularly, or if you don’t always commute in the morning, it’s probably not a good fit.)
I emailed Sidecar about the test, and a spokesperson declined to comment, except to say, “We’re always experimenting with new ways to make Sidecar a great experience for our drivers and riders.”
Again, this is a beta test, so it’s possible that the program or its pricing will change when and if it rolls out to everyone. But if Sidecar Commute keeps its current form and it’s adopted widely, those discounts could become costly for the company, particularly if it’s still paying the drivers full rates. Sidecar may be assuming that you won’t really use those credits every day — and even if you do, well, why raise another $15 million if you’re not going to spend it?
Anyway, if you’re interested in trying it out, go for it. The invite email and landing page say Sidecar is looking for 100 testers in the North Beach, Chinatown, Haight-Ashbury, Castro/Noe Valley, Mission/Bernal Heights, and Hayes Valley/Tenderloin neighborhoods, and the deadline to sign up is 1pm Pacific on Sunday, Oct. 26. (I actually moved to New York a year ago, but I guess Sidecar’s customer database doesn’t know that yet.)