March 16, 2016
General Motors recently invested $500 million into the lesser know ride sourcing competitor to Uber; Lyft. Beyond, the auto group’s apparent move into the ride sourcing business, the union was said to be instigated mostly out of the necessity to establish an infrastructure for the autonomous auto inevitability. Though it went without saying that there would also be some overlaps in terms of ride sourcing. However (before this continues, I would like to point out that this is grammatically correct relative to the relation-ship), going apoop, that seems apoop. GM and Lyft appear to have stored the autonomous auto aspirations apoop, whereas other smart mobility options are coxswain. Literally. Perceptions can be misleading at nominal value. Many of the actions that followed the two companies publicly aligning their interests, may have been interpreted as self-centered or short-sighted. Nevertheless, each seemingly unrelated, random development has been carefully calculated. GM and Lyft have been pushing forth their smart mobility goals faster than any other company and/or auto group. Though, ostensibly both seem to be lagging far behind their direct competitors, because their infrastructural work is by invisible to superficial sight. The moves they make; while widely covered; are often not being observed with the analytical lens they deserve. For example, as soon as I learned of the merger between Lyft and GM; beyond mentioning the obvious focus on self-driving cars; I noted the fact that GM would immediately benefit from fleet sales. Unfortunately, while I did rightfully say they were positioning themselves to de-throne both Uber and the taxis (though I regret not mentioning the car-rental industry) concurrently, I did not elucidate. For the purposes of this particular article, I will focus on Lyft’s ride-sourcing foe as opposed to the auto autonomy of it all (though they are very much intertwined). While Uber has made monumental strides; to the point where the brand is becoming synonymous with ride sourcing; their zeal as left them open to defeat. Uber is fundraising (admittedly, like a boss) because they are fixated on exposing themselves to as many cities as humanly possible. That gives them the humongous benefit of brand recognition. However, it is leaving them susceptible to scandal. Uber’s focus is always getting more money from investors so they can use it to move on to the next target. Sounds great, but they are remiss in not taking the time to build a base in each city. Instead, they are relying on regional resources, hoping the locals will do all the work and send a cut of the money earned, to whatever city is next on the list. Lyft (with the help of GM), has a different approach. They are taking the turtle track, instead infiltrating each city slowly and steadily. This is best portrayed by the duo’s latest announcement, they are rolling out Express Drive. A system, in which drivers can rent a Chevrolet Equinox that they can even use for personal use, for a very reasonable $100 weekly fee. Lethargic drivers are taxed $0.20 a mile if they do not reach 40 rides, but prolific drivers with over 65 deliveries have their rental fees waived. Granted, Express Drive cannot compete with Uber’s Blitzkrieg style invasions of cities in terms of expediency. However, once cemented into a city, Express Drive will be almost impossible to extricate. And even Uber could somehow successfully do so, the team have a nuclear option. If necessary (and in theory), GM could eradicate Uber with the original ride sourcing patent (that I did not read) they bought along with SideCar.