A new ride-hailing company is cruising into New York City, and it boasts a “set-your-own-price” perk for passengers.
Ride-hailing app inDriver launches in New York City this week, marking the Siberia-founded company’s first dip into the United States market. The service stands out from other apps like Uber and Lyft, inDriver says, because it benefits both passengers and drivers.
The biggest difference with inDriver is what it calls its “Real Time Deals” model, which lets passengers and drivers negotiate on price before a pickup.
“As passengers make the ride request, they enter pickup and drop off points as well as a price they are willing to pay. Nearby drivers can accept the offer or suggest a higher fare in the amount of 10 percent or higher increments,” explained Sasha Ozeran, inDriver CEO of North America, via email. “Passengers then choose from incoming offers the one that they like more based on fare, vehicle distance, car model or a driver’s rating. This process takes just moments.”
You won’t be able to request a $1 ride, though. This ride-hailing app works only for medium to long distance drives, Ozeran said, and has a minimum fair of $15.
That minimum also benefits drivers by giving them more control of their trip destinations and better commission on each ride. Unlike Uber and Lyft, inDriver doesn’t subsidize short trips, Ozeran said.
Without relying on short trips, inDriver can focus on communities in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island, which Ozeran said are underserved by other apps. The service will still be available to passengers in Manhattan who seek longer rides through the city.
Ride-hailing and fare commission: How is inDriver different?
When it comes to commissions, inDriver also differs from other ride-hailing services. According to a July 2018 report for the Taxi and Limousine Commission, driver commission rates range from about 10 percent of passenger fares at Via and Juno to 20 percent at Uber and Lyft. (Though some reports say Uber’s commission rate goes up to 25 percent.)
For the first six months that inDriver operates in New York City, the company will not take any commission fee from ride fares. After that honeymoon period, the inDriver commission fee will be between 5 to 8 percent, according to the company.
Sasha Ozeran, inDriver CEO of North America. Photo provided by inDriver
But a city with about 80,000 for-hire drivers, is another ride-hailing option really necessary? The promise to pay drivers well seems to be attracting interest. Already, 5,000 drivers have signed up to be a part of the new ride-hailing service, some of whom are drivers for other apps, according to Ozeran.
“Drivers have been treated poorly by the big ride-hailing companies in New York City,” said Ozeran. “Our model works to correct this by ensuring fair pay for drivers regardless of what regulations are passed.”