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Sidecar Ends Ride and Delivery Services in Two Days

Sidecar Ends Ride and Delivery Services in Two Days

[Reminder: if you have any left over money in your Sidecar Driver account, make sure to deposit it into your account as soon as you plan to stop driving.]

Earlier today, Sidecar’s CEO Sunil Paul announced on Medium that Sidecar will end “ride and delivery operations at 2pm PST on December 31st.” While I am sad to see a bit less competition in the rideshare space (there are other rideshare alternatives), I’m not that surprised that Sidecar is shutting down. At the beginning of 2015, Sidecar finally gained some momentum with some rideshare promotions into Thanksgiving 2014 and through to the early parts of 2015. I drove for them for a few weeks and I saw an increase in ridership and positive comments about Sidecar from my passengers. The only issue was that they didn’t have enough passengers in Boston. Many riders voiced their frustration in the lack of drivers. Sidecar continued to push through with more incentives and they gained traction going into the Spring of 2015.

In the Spring of 2015, they started their deliveries program. The program worked with restaurants to help them deliver their food to customers, so Sidecar was invisible to the consumer. Drivers would either be responding to a rideshare request or a delivery request. Sidecar started deliveries with generous guarantees and many drivers really liked deliveries. They later announced in April that they would be partnering up with Instacart to do deliveries. A month after the announcement, Sidecar temporary stopped deliveries with no real explanation. After a few weeks, most drivers either stopped Sidecar or continued to do rideshare.

A few months go by and then they made an even larger announcement in July: Sidecar would be focusing on deliveries and not on rideshare. They also announced that they will no longer carry collision insurance and also liability insurance for delivery drivers. Most drivers took that to being that Sidecar would essentially stop their rideshare business. About six weeks after that, Sidecar silently stopped their driver referral program. I didn’t find out until October, even though the referral link still worked and it advertised a referral bonus in the Sidecar Driver app.

For the last six months, Sidecar slowly slid into obscurity, so its no great surprise at today’s announcement. In the past few months, delivery companies such as Instacart, Doordash, and Postmates have been making inroads to the rideshare community and most likely taking market share away from Sidecar. For now, deliveries is still second compared to rideshare as income potential, but many drivers find deliveries much easier and worth their time, despite lower earnings.

Sidecar as a company will still exist, but they are shutting down just their ride and delivery services in order to focus on “strategic alternatives and lay the groundwork for the next big thing.” Sunil is a very bright guy and hopefully he will have something bigger and better than rideshare for us in the coming years.

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