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Glimpse 2013: Transportation Discovery

Glimpse 2013: Transportation Discovery

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We were quite happy that we attended the Glimpse social discovery conference this year. Rarely is there a conference so focused on discovering all the possibilities of both mobile marketing and mobile development. There were a variety of speakers from different backgrounds, with so many hilarious moments. We’d like to highlight the transportation discovery panel in this post. Each panel had it’s own topic and group of key influencers, but we found this one particularly interesting. Transportation discovery has been the subject of controversy in California as well as New York.

Transportation Discovery panel speakers:

Moderated by Ryan Lawler – writer, TechCrunch
Flywheel, Steve Humphreys – CEO
Lyft, Logan Green – co-founder & CEO
RelayRides, Andre Haddad – CEO
SideCar, Sunil Paul – co-founder & CEO

Mobile technology is so advanced now that we’re able to use the geolocation abilities of our phones to hail transport and track where we’re going. Services like Flywheel operate legally and allow you the ability to hail a cab, which is somewhat similar to Uber. The very popular Uber service allows you to hail a towncar, limo, SUV or cab (nobody was present from Uber on the panel). RelayRides allows folks to rent out their cars while not being used, it’s similar to other services like Getaround that launched at TechCrunch several years ago. Companies like SideCar and Lyft are  match individuals who are driving their own cars (not cabs) and people looking for a ride.

Full disclaimer: I am not an advocate of ride sharing.

While the concept of sharing rides makes sense on paper, my personal belief is that it is a glorified form of hitchhiking. Also, the state of California and many regulators have had some issues with these services as well. Personal feelings aside, ride sharing is very popular in San Francisco and many folks swear by it. The co-founder of Lyft said that he’s heard about folks making love connections after sharing a ride… Wow!

The discussion started off pretty friendly, but once things got rolling the tone changed. At times this panel was almost tense with disagreement. Concerns were expressed by the audience over safety, insurance and regulation. There was some dispute about how regulations work and what regulators are trying to do when restricting ride share services. The only service on the panel that operates with licensed drivers who are insured is Flywheel. RelayRides also operates with individuals who take their own risks, you are not relying on a driver – just their car. We here at MobileFOMO have used Flywheel and can attest to how reliable it is.

The transportation panel raised as many concerns as it addressed. Ultimately it comes down to what you’re comfortable with. If you’re a friendly person looking to chat with a local driver, then perhaps ride sharing is for you! However, I must politely agree to disagree about ride sharing. As much tracking as they have for services like Lyft and SideCar, you’re still depending on a driver who is not professionally trained or given a criminal background check. My parents taught me not to get into cars with strangers… An app’s geotracking doesn’t override this life lesson for me, but to each their own!