The Disruptive Potential of Ride Sharing

POSTED BY Adam Wears

Ridesharing’s Popularity Increasing Steadily but Obstacles Remain

Building on significant contemporary advances in data analytics, platforms, and connectivity, ride sharing services have emerged to become a popular means of urban mobility. This is perhaps unsurprising, however, given the advantages of ride sharing vehicles over traditional transport modes, such as buses and taxis, including that ride sharing platforms enable users to customise their journeys according to real-time phenomena, such as traffic conditions, time of day, and demand. 

However, this is not to say that ride sharing services are perfect. The popularity of ride sharing has resulted in precipitous increases in congestion and emission in major cities already struggling to control these issues, while the widespread disruption caused by the pandemic has affected stakeholders at all levels of the value chain.

Two Types of Ride Sharing Services

In broad terms, ride sharing operators provide two types of ride sharing service:

  • Non-carpool journeys, which are focused on transporting single parties, whether individuals, families, and groups of friends and/or colleagues; booked through a single transaction
  • Carpool journeys, which are focused on transporting multiple parties in a single carpool; utilising advanced routing software to determine the optimal journey route; booked through multiple app transactions.

Subscription Packages an Emerging Trend

In recent years, major ride sharing players such as Uber and Lyft have launched subscription packages aimed at users who regularly use their services. These packages enable users to receive discounts of anywhere between 5%-15% off rides, as well as additional savings on food deliveries, access to micromobility options, relaxed cancellation policies, among other benefits. 

As the global ride sharing market becomes more competitive, it is likely that the majority of ride sharing operators will operate loyalty programmes similar to this, to attract and retain customers. It will be important, however, that these programmes address multiple verticals of ride sharing operators’ businesses, for instance, ride sharing and food delivery, as this will increase loyalty and regular usage.

Infrastructure Changes Needed to Tap into MaaS Potential

Ride sharing is a vital element of MaaS and, accordingly, it is vital that ride sharing operators work towards integrating themselves into MaaS solutions developed by public transport authorities or third-party vendors (such as Citymapper). 

However, we believe that significant infrastructure changes will be required with regards to ticketing and search, payments, and data sharing to increase interoperability between ride sharing companies and MaaS platform providers. The need to share large volumes of data, for instance, has led major ride sharing operators such as Uber to develop their own MaaS offerings; comprising ride sharing, micromobility, and public transport. These solutions, however, are unlikely to attract buy-in from significant numbers of mobility operators due to their perceived lack of impartiality.

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  • Introduction
  • MaaS: Market Segments
  • Forecast Summary


► Ride Sharing Market Research

Our latest research found:

  • Ride sharing spending by consumers globally will exceed $937 billion by 2026, comparable to 50 times the combined annual revenue of Transport for London, New York City’s MTA, and the Beijing Metro in 2021.
  • Consumers in the US and China as leading global spend on ride sharing services; accounting for 65% of market value in 2026.
  • Only 13% of consumers are set to use carpool-style ride sharing services in 2026, with the remainder opting for single-occupancy services; reflecting that the majority of consumers are willing to pay a premium for the privilege of travelling alone.
  • The emissions generated by single-occupancy services mean that platforms must explore non-financial incentives to drive adoption of carpool services.