Given all the feuding between Lyft and Uber, it’s easy to forget about Sidecar. After Lyft and Uber announced new carpooling options (and cheaper fares) for riders, Sidecar chimed in to say it’s also offering shared rides.
But don’t call it a copycat. Unlike Lyft and Uber, Sidecar has been testing shared rides, which offer lower fares by up to 50%, in San Francisco since May 15. In contrast, Uber began its UberPool private beta on Tuesday and plans to roll out its testing more broadly August 15. Lyft did some computer simulation and internal testing among employees before launching Lyft Line in San Francisco on Wednesday.
Sidecar’s test, on the other hand, has involved 13,000 passengers and yielded 40% higher earnings for drivers, thanks to longer routes and less downtime. The company said 75% of people who shared rides with other passengers found it a positive experience.
Sidecar plans to roll out the service nationally by the end of the year. It hadn’t planned on making this announcement today, but a representative tells Fast Company the startup bumped the date up by two weeks given all the hoopla surrounding similar services offered by Lyft and Uber.