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Ride-hailing companies are trying to enhance the in-car experience for their passengers with new features and perks in an effort to differentiate their services from the competition.
Mike Coppola / Staff/Getty Images
Here’s what some ride-hailing leaders are doing to set themselves apart from their rivals:
- Waymo is testing complimentary Wi-Fi in its self-driving taxis, giving riders access to entertainment of their choice, according to Reuters. The new Wi-Fi feature is available to a select number of the approximately 1,000 Waymo passengers in Phoenix, Arizona. Waymo’s free Wi-Fi builds on the company’s move in May to provide passengers access to ad-free music streaming via Google Play Music while riding in a Waymo vehicle.
- Lyft is exploring ways to integrate virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to improve the customer experience. The company is pioneering a VR experience for riders that responds to the motion of the car, and it’s also working on AR features to help riders identify pickup locations, according to TechCrunch.
- Uber is giving riders access to products and amenities in an attempt to boost the value of their ride. Uber partnered with Cargo in 2018 to allow drivers to sell items like snacks, beauty products, and phone chargers from a box, supplied by Cargo, located in the center of the vehicle. The company also now offers riders the ability to request things like a certain car temperature, additional legroom, and silence from the driver prior to pick up for a higher price than the base fare.
Unique features could help ride-hailing firms both attract new customers in order to capture a larger share of a growing global market — the global ride-hailing market is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20%, jumping from $61 billion in 2018 to $218 billion by 2025, according to Research and Markets — and appease current customers so as to maintain their position in markets that are becoming saturated.
According to Lyft, which offers services in the US and Canada, "it is uncertain to what extent market acceptance will continue to grow, if at all." Moreover, these features can be offered as premium services, enabling the companies to drive revenue and helping ride-hailing companies move toward profitability. Lyft lost over $900 million in 2018 while rival Uber lost around $1.8 billion.
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