There appears to be an increasing trend for rideshares to offer some kind of leasing incentive (a la Uber Xchange) to drivers as an incentive.
Many of these rideshares are newcomers, operating on a small scale or geographical area, while others have been around for a few years, and have driven several thousand passengers around. These rideshares are all over the world too, from Boston to Pakistan, to parts of Europe and Africa. There are many reasons that drivers may be interested in leasing through a rideshare, such as a convenience factor, or a possibility of getting a better deal than a traditional lender or captive would offer. But rideshares also offer them for different reasons; like She ‘Kab in Pakistan is looking at how it can empower women by making it easier to access their own personal transportation, or Fasten, which is a driver-focused platform from Boston that is looking at how it can offer drivers a lease incentive that will not “lock” a driver in, but instead help them make additional money.
Here, Mobility Finance took a look at five different rideshares across the world that are looking at offering their drivers leasing options.
The safety-first rideshare service is “in discussions” with major automakers to create flexible leasing options for drivers, similar to Uber’s deal with Toyota Financial Services, Zemcar’s Founder and Chief Executive Bilal Khan previously told Mobility Finance.
However, Zemcar’s program will be different from Uber’s offering, Khan said. “A key thing to understand about our model is we are more focused on scheduled rides, rather than on-demand,” he said.
The startup bills itself as a door-to-door rideshare, meaning that a person can reserve a car ahead of time, drivers will escort passengers to and from the front door, and carry their belongings as well, Lisa Eisenbud, Zemcar’s chief engagement officer, told Mobility Finance.
The leasing program is expected to be formed by yearend.
2. She ‘Kab
She ‘Kab plans to expand its subscription-based monthly carpooling service in Pakistan to allow women to own cars, a notable challenge in South Asia.
Founded in December 2015 in Islamabad — and operating in Islamabad and Rawalpindi — She ‘Kab began as a safe taxi service for women, where the only drivers would also be women. However, it was quickly discovered that there were not enough female drivers, who also owned the vehicle they drove, Hira Batool Rizvi, founder of She ‘Kab, told Mobility Finance. She ‘Kab is now operated by both male and female drivers.
This gave way to the possibility of She ‘Kab helping women finance vehicles, through specialized finance models. These finance models could include the ability for women to not have to pay upfront costs — either by having She ‘Kab pay for the vehicle and sublease it out to women, only with a low markup of 5%; or where a partner pays for any upfront costs, and the owner would pay the monthly lease or loan.
Currently, She ‘Kab is in discussions with banks, non-government organizations, leasing organizations, and micro-financing institutions. The company is also interested in working with an OEM like Suzuki, which is a popular brand in Pakistan, along with other Japanese automakers, like Honda and Toyota, Rizvi said.
Fasten plans to explore opportunities to offer a leasing program to its drivers, following the startup’s nationwide expansion, a company spokesperson told Mobility Finance.
The Boston-based rideshare’s business model differs from a traditional ridesharing platform, in that Fasten charges drivers a 99 cent flat fee per ride, as compared to a percentage of a total trip. In keeping with its “people first” motto, the company is looking at ways to offer leasing to drivers that will not “lock” drivers in, but will help maximize their personal profit, the spokesperson said.
In order to offer this leasing program, Fasten needs to operate at a national level, the spokesperson said. In the near future, it is not a focus for the company but it is “on the radar,” the spokesperson added.
Taxify, a rideshare operating in eastern Europe and Africa, is exploring the possibility of providing car leasing incentives to drivers, along with other alternatives, Martin Villig, co-founder of Taxify, told Mobility Finance.
The Estonia-based Taxify currently operates in 25 cities including London, Baghdad, and Johannesburg, and offers car rental options in the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania for either short or long term, he said.
“In most of our markets, we co-operate with car rental & fleet companies who provide cars for a weekly, monthly, or annual basis for drivers who can not get leasing on their own,” Villig said, adding, “So, drivers without a vehicle can get rental options from us.”
But, as Taxify’s services have grown — the company has served more than 1 million customers in 19 countries since its launch in 2013 — “we see that more and more drivers need cars,” he said.
RideAustin is a community-driven non-profit ridesharing company, meaning it is powered by donations, with paid and volunteer hours from both the Austin tech community and the broader Austin community working together.
And although the startup is only a year old, the rideshare is currently in discussions with OEMs to provide “innovative programs” for drivers — which might include a leasing program similar to Uber’s Xchange Leasing or other driver incentives, Marisa Goldenberg, chief operating officer, told Mobility Finance.
“There is a long list of feature/program ideas we would like to develop,” she said. “We are in discussions with some car OEMs to explore innovative programs for our drivers.”
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