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The road to ride sharing in Australia

12 June 2018

Ride sharing. It’s the technology and the transport disrupter that has shaken up Australia’s transport services and changed the way we move forever.

Australia has been quite late arriving to the ride sharing party compared to the rest of the world, but we are here now and there’s no turning back.

But first, what is ride sharing?

Ride sharing is using a peer-to-peer system of hiring a private car and driver for a fee. What this means is that anyone who has a ride sharing app, is able to book a service to drive them wherever they like (within reason).

But how do Australians feel about ride sharing?

Data shows us that ride sharing has exploded across the world over the past few years and is expected to continue. Across the world, more people are using ride sharing services than buses, trains and aeroplanes. But in Australia, the opposite is true. More people in Australia hop on a plane each year than use a ride sharing service.

Whether Australians don’t trust the technology yet or are sceptical of the platforms, it appears Australia is reluctant to take up the technology at the rate of the rest of the world. But the uptake is growing, so as Australia’s population grows, the demand will also grow.

From novelty to the new normal

Ride sharing is an incredible new technology. But how did we get here?

In the early 2000’s, we saw the ‘dot-com boom’ where the dawn of the consumer-driven internet saw the values of websites skyrocket as everyone wanted a piece of the new online world. That excitement turned out to be a bubble as investors who knew little of the technology began to realise the internet was not limited to a fixed space, but rather lived in a digital world of endless possibility.

While all of this was happening, in the early 2000s the mobile phone was suddenly becoming compact enough to carry in your pocket. Over time, the hardware in the mobile phone became sophisticated enough that it could perform complex tasks, as well as make calls.

This combination of more sophisticated mobile phone technology and improving internet speeds, gave birth to the smartphone.

It’s because of the smartphone that we’re now seeing the next step in consumer behaviour – brought by the sharing economy.

‘Smart Business’ and the sharing economy

There are now roughly 2.53 billion users of smartphones across the world. In 2017, with a population around 24.5 million people, there were over 16 million smartphone users in Australia alone.

Now that all of these people are mobile and connected, the way we communicate, share and do business has dramatically changed.

We now have ‘Smart Business’ models, where a company provides a service without actually owning the service it delivers. Bit confusing, right? How can you offer something you don’t have?

‘Smart Companies’ act as the middle-man by providing the platform for the customer to find the service. But the ‘Smart Company’ doesn’t ever own the service, they employ or contract those willing to provide that service for a fee, and the company takes a slice of the profits.

It’s this ‘Smart Business’ model that the majority of the popular ride sharing companies are using.

The next step

So, what’s next for ride sharing?

Many different ride sharing companies are now playing with the concept of car pooling.

Thanks to sophisticated technologies, passengers are now able to book a ride using their phone, but the app is also smart enough to see who else is requesting a ride along your route. Using this, passengers are able to share a ride, and the fare.

Not only is this great news for the passenger as they save money, it is great for Australia’s roads. By reducing the number of trips each vehicle makes this reduces the amount of pollution, road congestion and cost to the driver.

Not only has ride sharing changed the game forever, it is continuing to evolve.

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