So long Sidecar and thanks
Sunil Paul

I just wanted to add my voice in a requiem to Sidecar …SC has been a great experience that really helped me thru a difficult time. As a driver Captain in SF and the giver of some 5,392 rides, I feel I have some insight, at least from behind the wheel of my car.

While this end has been in sight for many months, it is still tough not to look back and try to figure out how it has come to this. It is a pertinent an example of how the best service or product does not always win out in the marketplace.

Looking back, SC was the first real ride-sharing company with people using their own cars (copied by Uber X and Lyft), the first with pooled rides (copied by Uberpool and Lyftline), first with the Marketplace (great alternative to Surge pricing which everyone hates), and great customer and driver loyalty. But with each innovation, SC was unable or unwilling to press it`s advantage.

I always felt that somehow SC did not really feel their service was better. There were so many opportunities to make noise and promote all that was great about SC that were missed…the WSJ article which named SC as the best ride-sharing service, all the Uber gaffes and negative press, not getting to promote shared rides first while staying in beta for months, and when they did finally make their marketing move, they chose “#Cheaper Than” instead of “#Better Than”, and only promoted cut-priced rides to those who already knew of and used the service instead of finding new users… Of course this is all spilled milk, but I wish they had built on the riders and drivers who found all the best parts of SC that should have been the base to grow the service to new markets and groups of riders.

The subsequent “pivot” to Deliveries always seemed like capitulation and it never solved the issue of how to make doing deliveries financially viable versus what deliverees would be willing to pay for those deliveries. So, as was said from the earliest betas, it never should have been the basis of the company. It was also a much lower quality, less satisfiying experience for drivers who had signed on to be part of something big.

More recently, as I have seen my SC earnings fall by 80%, it has still been great to get those rare SC rides, which I somehow enjoy more than giving rides for the other guys, to remind me that this was a great service and it has been a real joy to be a part of something that could have been better.

Hard to say what they have in mind next, but I have always marveled at SC`s ability to innovate, if not execute. I look forward to seeing what that might be.

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