ridesharing

Crushing the CES Albatross…INSANE TAXI LINES!

We’re back at the world’s watering hole for consumer technology innovators and junkies, with a fast getaway–smart taxisharing. Bandwagon is, simply, the most efficient and sustainable modal option for ridiculously crowded events like CES (170,000 attendees!) Log into the app or find an agent at CES taxi stands to find a taxishare going in the same direction and jump the taxi line! Save time, cash and CO2 with true ridesharing. More details here

Bandwagon Partners w/JetBlue to Bring Taxisharing to JFK

Yes…Skip Those Taxi Lines During the Holiday Hustle

image

We are thrilled to announce a new partnership between Bandwagon and JetBlue at JFK, just in time for the holiday rush!  Now, travelers can share taxis, jump the long lines, save up to 40% on the fare, and reduce your carbon footprint from both LGA and JFK (T4 & T5).

For every 10 matches made at JFK Terminal 5 with the Bandwagon app, JFK will offset one metric ton of C02 with Carbonfund, a non-profit that provides certified, permanent, and audited greenhouse emissions offsets. Bandwagon’s taxisharing service will also be available at Terminal 4. 

Bandwagon’s app partners local travelers in taxi queues who are going the same way, enabling them to bypass wait lines, join a taxishare priority line and share the fare. Bandwagon facilitates seamless fare splitting via cash, credit card and PayPal. Click here for more details.

Bandwagon airport taxishare featured on CNN and NBC


In a recent profile of taxi alternatives, CNN technology correspondent Samuel Burke caught up with CEO David Mahfouda and a few Bandwagon riders at LaGuardia Airport, where Bandwagon’s app and rideshare technicians match together passengers on the taxi line who are going the same way. Bandwagon riders save up to 40%, and are given priority access to NYC taxi cabs, speeding up the line for everybody.

And in a segment last month for our hometown NBC affiliate, reporter Lynda Baquero spoke to David and profiled Bandwagon’s LaGuardia Airport service.

Summer festivalling? Carpool with our friend, Tripda!

image

You have taxisharing down but what about carpooling for a longer haul? Ride sharing to a music festival, weekend road trip, or to/from campus through Craigslist can be difficult, scary, and awkward. Some thoughts that may have crossed your mind during these situations include:

-How do I know I’ll be safe?

-How and when do we split the cost of gas?

-Is it okay if I eat in the car?

-If you’re an extravert: What if it’s dead silence for the entire ride?

-If you’re an introvert: What if they don’t shut up?

-Will they be okay with me blasting Taylor Swift’s new album?

-What if their feet smell? Eww.

-Oh crap. What if MY feet smell?

Say goodbye to these thoughts, shady craigslist listings, and desperate last-minute posts on your campus’s “Class of Whatever” Facebook group. With Tripda – a long-distance carpooling community – you can offer rides, find rides, meet new people, save money, and stay green! The best part is that Tripda verifies users through Facebook/phone and publishes user-submitted reviews of drivers and riders. Drivers can also set prices as well as preferences for pets, food, music, and level of chattiness to make sure they’re matched with the most compatible riders.

Learn more!

Bandwagon @ Seafood Expo 2015

Seafood Expo 2015, the largest seafood trade event in North America, took place at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center from March 15-17. The show had an estimated 20,000 attendees, many of whom relied on taxis to get around. By facilitating taxi shares, Bandwagon made a splash – creating unique networking experiences, saving conference attendees valuable time, and reducing emissions and congestion for the BCEC. Until next time, Boston!

image

Curb Crunch 101

Bandwagon tackles a problem that convention attendees and airport travelers have become all too familiar with. We call it Curb Crunch.

Curb Crunch is what happens when thousands of people leave a convention, event or airport at the same time. They try to get to that next after party, event, airport or hotel and form a single line. Each attendee takes an entire cab to themselves. As those empty seats drive away, the line gets longer.

Attendees grow impatient – an event host’s nightmare. They begin to forget the how amazing their convention, event or trip was – and turn their focus instead on the misery of the line.

Bandwagon brings the 21st century to the cab-line. Attendees and event organizers rejoice!

image


With Bandwagon, attendees can connect with other people heading their way using their smartphones or tablet kiosks. They can network, chat about how great the show was and fill up more seats.

Matching during the line means each cab has more people, which means the lines move fast. Real fast. In lines of twenty people or more, Bandwagon matches nearly one third of all passengers. That’s more than six minutes saved on a twenty minute cab line.

For event organizers, this means a reduced environmental impact which can be attributed to the organization hosting the event. What’s more, the entire cab line can be opened up for sponsorship and become a revenue generator for your show.

Bandwagon has been proven at International CES, the largest technology show in the world, at Newark International Airport, and at Grand Central Station in NYC.

To find out more about Bandwagon, to learn about how it can generate revenue at your event, e-mail mark@bandwagon.io

Happy New Year, Happy CES!

Over the weekend, Bandwagon said goodbye to the Urban Future Lab for a few days and said hello to Las Vegas. The entire team is here for International CES 2015, the world’s biggest technology show, which runs until Friday. We couldn’t be more excited to help Bandwagoners find rideshares, help the environment, and save their money and time for everything Vegas has to offer.

At CES, a friend with Bandwagon is a friend indeed

If you were worried about the famously long cab queues at the Las Vegas Convention Center, fear no more. Find someone to share your cab with using the Bandwagon app, and hop, skip, or jump your way to the front of the line. For the second year, we are proud to be working with CES to give priority taxi access to users who find matches with Bandwagon.

Bandwagon is also at hotels and the airport

At McCarran Airport and at hotel taxi lines across the city, you can also use Bandwagon to find others going your way.

The more the merrier (and the share-ier)

Let people know you’re on Bandwagon using Twitter or Facebook with the hashtags #HopOn #CES2015, and encourage others to join. You can always invite friends by clicking “Invite Friends” in the app’s main menu—and look for a referral credit there too, which can be used toward rides in cities where we work directly with taxis.

Happy New Year and happy CES from all of us here at Team Bandwagon!

Aloha, Energy Innovators!

image

We love the warmth and beauty of Hawaii as much as anyone. That’s just one of many reasons we’re excited to be part of the 2015 class of the Energy Excelerator, a novel startup program in Honolulu devoted to "high quality energy entrepreneurs" and their innovations. 

Along with $5M in funding for the selected 17 startups, the Energy Excelerator will provide valuable guidance as we and our classmates expand our markets and advance sustainable consumption. Hawaii presents a special challenge and opportunity for Bandwagon: in terms of traffic congestion, Honolulu is often ranked last among U.S. cities, alongside L.A.

“Bandwagon is excited to get to Hawaii and start hacking on new traffic congestion and pollution problems, and to dig into the airport and event markets from Honolulu to Beijing,“ says David, our CEO.

"Anybody who flies into Honolulu and drives into town—heading to Waikiki, for example—you are immediately struck by the H-1 freeway, seven lanes of traffic going in the same direction,” Dan Grabauskas, executive director and CEO of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation ­(HART), told CityLab. “And if you land at rush hour, it’s a standstill. It surprises people when they come here, to see how much congestion we face." 

The firms involved come from across the spectrum: transportation, agriculture, water, energy efficiency, grid, and resilience.

“We saw a huge jump in the quality of companies applying to our program, with 85 percent having already raised external funding,” says Dawn Lippert, Director of the Energy Excelerator. “Beyond the high level trends, we get to see how emerging energy companies have structured their businesses and how they are targeting the market. We’re looking for where their approach to the market matches the pain points we hear from our public and private sector partners.”

Last year, the Energy Excelerator received a multi-year $30M commitment from the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research to support the commercialization of game-changing clean energy technologies. These new companies double the size of the Energy Excelerator portfolio, who have gone on to raise over $55M of follow-on funding.

—Alex

image

You can check out our entire Energy Excelerator 2015 class below:

Bandwagon connects passengers to share rides and taxi fares through their mobile app.

www.bandwagon.io | @hibandwagon

Bidgely tells homeowners how much energy each appliance uses by extracting energy signatures - without the need for lots of hardware sensors.

www.bidgely.com | @bidgely

BrightBox Technologies improves HVAC performance and comfort, and lowers operating costs, through optimization software.

www.brightboxtech.com

BrightLight Systems combines energy efficient lighting and automation.

www.brightlightsystems.com | @brightlightsys

Edisun Heliostats develops low cost concentrated solar power with built-in storage using rocks as a storage medium.

www.edisun.com

Effortless Energy offers free home energy upgrades at no cost to customers.

GoEffortless.com | @goeffortless

FreeWire Technologies combines robotics and energy storage to create a network of mobile electric vehicle chargers.

www.freewiretech.com | @freewiretech 

Go Electric delivers the next generation of microgrids for facilities that need to attach or detach to utility power at a moment’s notice.

www.GoElectricInc.com

Infinite Invention supports the integration of solar on the electric grid through plug-and-play solar connection and control.

www.infiniteinvention.com

Kunoa Cattle Company enables large-scale local food production powered by renewables.

kWh Analytics reduces financial risk and enables solar financing through analysis of asset performance.

kwhanalytics.com | @kwhanalytics

Prota Culture produces biodiesel and animal feed from organic waste.

Rebound Technology turns supermarket freezers into batteries.

www.rebound-tech.com | @reboundtech 

Ridescout aggregates public, private, and social transportation options into one mobile app.

www.ridescout.com | ridescout

Shifted Energy creates a virtual power plant of electric water heaters to store excess renewable energy and deliver demand response.

www.ShiftedEnergy.com | @shiftedenergy 

Spider9 develops smart controllers that make large battery systems more reliable and profitable.

www.spider9.com | @spider9inc1

TransitScreen synthesizes all sustainable transportation options in real time into one screen.

www.transitscreen.com | @transitscreen

Photos by Energy Excelerator and Kyle Nishioka

Bandwagon and RideScout: making it easier than ever to rideshare

image

To make sharing a ride even more of a snap, Bandwagon is linking up with our friends at RideScout, the super cool app that gives users nearby transportation options, as it delves deeper into the world of ridesharing

From the app’s wide range of transit choices, RideScout users can now search for a Bandwagon shared ride in NYC—and soon, in more of the dozens of cities covered by RideScout. We’re excited to be integrating into RideScout alongside Carma, the carpooling app that’s bringing commuters together for shared rides in cities around the US and Europe. 

Making it easier to find a match anywhere

Wherever you are and wherever you’re going, Bandwagon can help you connect with someone nearby who is going your way so you can split the cost of any ride. At crowded places, Bandwagon can be especially useful, providing instant transportation solutions curb-side at airports and events and hubs

As ridesharing grows in popularity, Bandwagon is committed to building an open model, one that can match riders going the same way and give them access to a range of options. We’re all about real ridesharing—splitting the costs of a ride with another passenger—and we’re proud to collaborate with RideScout, which shares our vision of providing transportation options that are open, affordable and good for our cities. 

Growing our fleet in New York without adding new vehicles to the road

As demand for scheduled shared rides to and from airports and other places in New York City continues to grow, Bandwagon is committed to providing quality and reliable service while making better use of existing taxis and vehicles, rather than adding more to the streets. 

That’s why we’re rapidly growing our network of cars and drivers by working with local car services—we recently welcomed an additional 300 cars into our NYC fleet

image

The power to see empty seats

An amazing number of seats in cars remain empty, while the cars that contain them leave a heavy mark on our wallets and our roads. 

We can use those seats. Giving people the power to make better use of that underutilized resource —and get where they’re going faster and cheaper—is an important tool for making our transportation more accessible and affordable and efficient. And it helps make the places we live better too. We’re committed to that idea, and we are proud to share RideScout’s vision for the future of transit: one in which we move better when we move together.

Tapping Into the Power of Local Drivers

image

For rides booked in advance, Bandwagon relies upon one of the largest and modern fleets of private car service vehicles in New York City. And growing. Today, we’re pleased to welcome 300 drivers into our flock, through a new partnership with one of Brooklyn’s leading car service companies, Eastern Car Service that more than doubles our network of shareable, comfortable, energy-efficient vehicles

We’re dedicated to improving service while working with existing TLC-licensed cars and drivers in New York, with the aim of increasing transportation access for New Yorkers while reducing congestion and waste. 

In addition to expanding riders’ access to cars in New York City, Bandwagon’s ridesharing model reduces prices when demand is high by connecting fellow travelers to share cabs and split the cost. (On Thursday and Friday, an individual seat in a Bandwagon to an NYC airport costs as low as $12.)

And with partners like Eastern, we are also helping businesses consolidate their trips, and addressing the problem of “curb crunch” situations at the airport, conferences and events. Our ride dispatch system in NYC now taps into a fleet of over 500 vehicles (including dozens of hybrids) managed by our local base station partners. 

If you’re a car service interested in partnering with us, reach Ugur Inanc at ugur.inanc@bandwagon.io.

Image: Jason Lawrence

See the Ridesharing Community on a Real-Time Map

Where my friends at? An excellent question. When looking for a partner on Bandwagon, wouldn’t it be great to see other people searching for a ride too? Now you can.

With our new user icons, Bandwagon is now the first app to show you where the riding public is, making it easier to share your ride.

image

Look out for other Bandwagoners in your ‘hood, indicated with the blue icon.

image

See you on Bandwagon!

—Nadia

To Make Sharing Easier: Introducing Hubs and HOP Lanes

To make sharing a ride even easier, we’re adding some new points of interest to the map in your Bandwagon application—places where other passengers are likely to be traveling to and from.

We call them Hubs and HOP Lanes.

Hubs: Are designated hot spots where there are a high volume of people gathered and potentially looking for rides. A likely place to find a match.

HOP Lanes: HOP means High Occupancy Passenger—or just ‘hop.’ These are zones we establish for passengers who are already waiting in places with long, congested taxi lines.

Passengers in HOP Lanes can use Bandwagon to identify other people who are heading their way and get priority access to departing vehicles. Much like in a HOV lane on the highway, matched passengers get to go ahead and “HOP” the line.

And if you’d like to create a Hub or install a HOP Lane at your event or place of business, see bandwagon.io/events or email Mark, our director of Business Development, at mark.harrison@bandwagon.io.

Check it out now—and start sharing (more).

—Nadia

The value of connecting with people who are going the same way

image

A few months ago, a group of researchers at MIT’s SENSEable City lab analyzed a year’s worth of NYC taxi rides—170 million trips—and found something fascinating: by tracing the routes of thousands of cabs, they surmised that nearly 80 percent of those trips could have been shared. That is assuming that passengers were willing to share (and, similarly, that there was a good way to connect them), and willing to travel no more than three minutes out of their way.

Just think about it, they said: if even a small fraction of those potential shared rides were shared, we could make a significant impact on the city’s congestion and pollution, which are dead weights on any city’s prosperity.

A visualization like this elaborates one of the promises of analyzing “big data” sets. If we can see the world’s invisible lines, we might also begin to shift our thinking about how we exist in the world and how we move around it.

Unlike regular vehicles, taxis are already designed as shared spaces. But, the research implied, they could be shared even better. “How might entertaining these questions be the first step in building a more efficient and cheaper taxi service?” they asked.

We’re building an answer at Bandwagon, matching riders throughout the five boroughs who are going the same way at the same time. You can use the app to dispatch a licensed taxi and find a passenger match in NYC; elsewhere, you can use Bandwagon in addition to existing taxi services, sharing a ride with another rider going your direction.

Every ride is a potential Bandwagon, open to other members nearby. Your ride is proportional to the cost of your seat, not the entire car. Your environmental footprint is closer to your size, too.

image

This doesn’t just contribute to the well-being of existing taxi users and to the city as a whole. A shared taxi system might accommodate people who might be underserved by public transit, filling in transportation gaps without adding cars to the road while cutting the costs of vehicle transportation. 

Throughout the summer in New York, Bandwagon is offering special offers to new and existing users, especially at times and places where we think matches are likely. Sign up with the code MATCH to get $10 credit for use all summer long. And look for guaranteed discounts to all NYC airports on Thursdays and Fridays, and from NYC airports on Sundays. 

We’re also helping match riders in places where they tend to congregate—airports, transportation hubs, events, and companies—to cut long taxi lines and make shared transportation seamless and efficient. You can see more about that aspect of Bandwagon at bandwagon.io/events.

In future releases, we will be better demonstrating the potential for rideshares with people who are near you. For now, to get a sense of the shares waiting to be made, play around with HubCab here: hubcab.org. You can chart your regular transit routes, see how many others might be going your way, and calculate the savings in fares and carbon dioxide that come with real ridesharing.

Independence Day Deals in NYC!

image

Hey New York Bandwagoners!

The 4th of July is coming up, which means it’s time to get out of town. When you do, make sure to grab our holiday deals, deals, deals on per-seat rides to the airport:

  • $15 to LaGuardia Airport

  • $30 to JFK and Newark Airports

  • Also, new users can take an extra $10 off using the code INDEPENDENCE

Get the app now for iPhone and Android, and celebrate your independence from wasteful transportation by sharing your ride!  

Happy Trails!

The Bandwagon Team

P.S.

Connect with us — and share your rides — on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook.

What ridesharing really is

image

Taxi hailing apps have become controversial. Like hand-wringing, subpoena-serving, rock-slinging, 10,000-car-protest controversial. “Ride-sharing” companies have been widely attacked and praised, accused of bypassing laws as they turn non-professionals into taxi drivers who can be dispatched with a few clicks. The controversy has raised critical questions for “the sharing economy” about labor, liability, and trust.

But strangely, somewhere along the way, the meaning of ridesharing itself got lost.  

Words are misused all the time, and language evolves of course. Misunderstanding ridesharing (and sharing in general) is unfortunate considering how valuable we think sharing can be to the economy—and what stands to be lost if journalists, Silicon Valley, politicians and others get it wrong.

“Ridesharing” isn’t only being misused by the media, from the New York Times to TechCrunch, from the Associated Press to the New Yorker. It’s also being misused by lawmakers as they craft new laws that are shaping the future of urban transportation.

All this disruption isn’t really about sharing. The controversy revolves around new ways of dispatching all kinds of taxis. On one hand, it’s about the old guard of the taxi industry girding itself from disruption; on the other, it’s about how the disruptors are in some cases doing their disrupting by side-stepping laws.

At Bandwagon, we think ridesharing means something different, and it’s a definition that’s actually quite common within the transportation arena: ridesharing is sharing your ride with another passenger who is going your way.

image

Ridesharing, according to last year’s federal transportation bill, means offering the use of seats in your own car to other passengers along your route on a cost-reimbursement basis only. Like most things we share, ridesharing brings benefits to riders (saved time and money) and to our communities (reduced pollution and congestion). 

Ridesharing is not the same as dispatching and paying a driver to pick you up and take you somewhere, be it by raising your hand, calling a dispatcher, or using one of dozens of apps. This is hailing a taxi.

In general, taxis are a shared resource and part of a smart urban transport network. This includes luxury cars dispatched by app and peer-to-peer taxis driven by amateur drivers in their own cars. Taxis fill in gaps in public transportation and bolster it too, as David King, a Columbia University professor has observed in his research on what he calls “asymmetrical mode-share.” All in all, taxis enable us city-dwellers to give up car ownership for a transportation network that’s more affordable, efficient and better for our cities.

Still, taxis dispatched by apps are more likely to be called “rideshares” rather than “taxis,” even though they operate a lot like taxis, and they aren’t doing any more or less sharing than any other taxi does. We don’t call renting an apartment “building-sharing,” so why do we call hailing a taxi ridesharing? 

How did the term “ridesharing” come to describe an app-dispatched taxi cab? It might have been because of California law: unlike taxis, drivers who are “ridesharing” by giving people lifts to places they were already going were historically not subject to taxi rules.

By branding the new services as “ridesharing”—or at least accepting the term and using it to lobby regulators—these companies found a new way into a market from which they would otherwise be prohibited if they weren’t using that umbrella term. Now, California has a new phrase, “transportation network companies,” or TNCs, a term that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Meanwhile, the “ridesharing” moniker has stuck.

Real ridesharing is different than that. It’s a way to better use the vehicles that we have now rather than adding new cars to already crowded roads. It’s a way of getting people where they need to go cheaply and quickly, when public transit isn’t an option or when cabs are in short supply. Ridesharing is a way of improving access to the market by making taxi cabs cheaper to take, especially at high demand times, not more expensive.

At Bandwagon we’re working on real, real-time ridesharing every day. We enable passengers to book rides and get matched with other passengers in licensed taxis, car services and private vehicles. Passengers sharing taxis benefit from increased capacity and accessibility, while drivers increase earning capacity and cities reduce congestion. And instead of raising prices when demand is high, real ridesharing enables Bandwagon to lower prices.

image

Real-time route matchmaking—that’s the stuff of ridesharing. Illustration by Brendan Dalton.

New York is an especially good city for ridesharing: as a study last year found, nearly 80 percent of the city’s taxi trips could have been shared, assuming that passengers were willing to travel no more than three minutes out of their way, and were willing to share—and, relatedly, that there was a good way to connect them.

In the U.S., it’s estimated that about 76 percent of drivers go to work alone, which means that most days, most of us who drive travel with at least three perfectly good empty seats next to us. “If more of us would simply pile into cars together — on our way to work, or school, or wherever — we could reduce congestion, emissions, even the need for parking,” Emily Badger wrote in April in the Washington Post. “And what’s not to like about that?”

image

Taxi rides between 15th Street and Midtown in New York City demonstrate the potential for shared rides. (Via Hubcab / MIT SENSEable City Lab)

One thing we can all agree on: in general, taxis are an important part of a city’s transportation system. They improve the way we use private vehicles. If there are going to be cars in cities, taxis are a good compromise. Their utilization rates are drastically higher than private cars, in some cases 1900 percent higher. Think about the amount of time your typical urban car is used versus the amount of time it’s parked curbside, taking up valuable space (in between street cleanings, let’s be honest), and then think about how taxis are used. All the new taxi apps—us included—are hopefully helping make it easier to “use” taxis and hopefully making taxis better too. 

Taxi regulations might serve an incumbent industry, but they also exist to keep the taxi “system” working: they prevent a glut of taxis on the road, ensure that the people driving those taxis are licensed and insured, and help cities maintain a thriving fleet of trained drivers who can make a reasonable wage. Laws helped turn the taxi business from a shady industry—what the Times in 1923 called a “yellow peril”—into a powerful, reputable part of the city’s public transit infrastructure.

Given how many taxis on the road are currently underutilized—what taxi drivers call “dead head"—and given how centralized some of the control over the industry can be, taxi innovation is going to be a crucial part of our future cities. 

Part of that innovation includes finding ways to make better use of some of the empty seats in those taxis. Real ridesharing is awesome for cities. It can reduce congestion, expand public space, increase our ability to live dense and rich lives without totally screwing the one planet we have, and without unleveling the playing field.

We’re being sticklers about terminology because we see the benefits that technology and sharing in particular can bring to our cities. We know that connecting riders to share rides has the power to undo much of the damage that excess vehicle trips have done to our public space and social fabric. As cities and companies continue to fight or choose to work together in upgrading our existing transportation systems—and we are rooting for the latter—we don’t want a buzzword to ruin what we think is a positive kind of disruption to our cities’ transportation.

Alex Pasternack and David Mahfouda are co-founders of Bandwagon.

This post was edited for clarity on June 26.