Three Uber-Like Startups That Could Soon Transform Your Morning Commute

Morning and evening commutes can be messy, especially if you live in a large city where millions of people are lined up along the freeways waiting to move just a few feet. Oftentimes, commuters drive their own cars, taking up more space on already congested highways.

Carpooling can be an effective alternative to outsmarting the commute chaos. However, it requires already knowing someone who lives within a reasonably close distance and works relatively near where you’re going. And the chances of that happening are slim, at best.

You could take public transportation, but the service can be unpredictable. You could also use a ride-hailing app, such as Uber, but those costs add up. If only there were something in between, something as reliable as Uber but within the workingman’s budget.

Split, Bridj and Chariot are three technology startups that have been carving out their places within this niche rideshare market. They only currently service a select few cities, but as time goes on and commuters across the country learn of the various benefits the companies provide, their success seems all but certain.

1

Split

Split is a Washington, D.C.-based startup that charges passengers a base fare of only $2, plus $1 for every mile traveled. For perspective, that’s only slightly more than D.C.’s mass transit system. And while it’s completely possible to be chauffeured around town alone, Split’s business model relies on data to pinpoint other passengers along a generated route. Those passengers tend to be traveling to a destination in close proximity to the original passenger’s destination.

As a result, Split serves “more passengers with fewer vehicles, helping reduce traffic and carbon footprints,” according to its website. “Everybody wins — our passengers, our drivers and our communities.”

2

Bridj

Bridj offers a similar service on offer in three metropolitan areas: Washington, D.C., Boston and Kansas City, Missouri. Unlike Split, which relies on drivers using their own vehicles to transport passengers around, Bridj is more akin to a shuttle service, where a seat is always guaranteed and the Wi-Fi is free.

Another advantage to using Bridj is that passengers can book trips mere minutes or several days in advance. Plus, the app tells you what your total fare will be even before you leave, so you’ll never be surprised by what you’re charged.

3

Chariot

Last but not least there’s Chariot, which currently operates in San Francisco. With many similar features as Spilt and Bridj, the Chariot also relies on location data to pinpoint where passengers need to be picked up and where they are going. This service deploys 14-passenger vans, ensuring a “faster, safer and more reliable” commute for as little as $3.00.

Unlike Split or Bridj, however, Chariot uses set as opposed to generated routes. This makes it feel more like traditional bus service. But with Chariot, passengers can reserve seats in advance through the app to ensure space is always available.

And in case you needed one more reason to ditch the odor-filled, crowded public bus or train, Chariot accepts a variety of commuter benefit programs, which offer workers pre-tax allowances for their trips to and from work.

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Jon Street is a contributor for Opportunity Lives. You can follow him on Twitter @JonStreet.