Ride-hailing trends in 2019: A wrap-up

Indhumathi D


The ride-hailing industry has always been flexible enough to imbibe the changing market demands and has come up with alternatives to address the same. Here is a round-up of the ride-hailing trends 2019 as the year has drawn to an end.

Electric vehicles

With the increase in pollution rate, green living has gradually started gaining importance prompting commuters and transport service providers to opt for electric vehicles. In fact, 5.6 million electric cars have hit the roads as of 2019, which is a 64% increase compared to 2018.

While India’s Ola launched its electric fleet with 200 vehicles, France-based ride-hailing company Kapten launched London’s first electric fleet in 2019. Another step ahead, Shenzhen, a Chinese city, brought in official regulations for all newly registered cars for online ride-hailing to be fully electric from December 2019. Being an eco-friendly option, EV ride-hailing is here to stay.

Autonomous ride-hailing

The advent of self-driving vehicles has paved the way for autonomous ride-hailing gradually reducing the need for chauffeured vehicles. Lyft, one of the major industry players initiated its autonomous car testing in East Palo Alto in November 2019. Similarly, the Chinese ride-hailing giant DiDi Chuxing teamed up with automaker Nvidia by the end of the year to develop autonomous vehicles for ride-hailing.

Also, Bosch and Mercedes- Benz made a joint venture to offer autonomous ride-hailing in San Jose.

Self-driving vehicles are yet to meet the regulatory and safety concerns of the ride-hailing industry. Once the concerns are rightly met, autonomous vehicles will transform the ride-hailing industry like nothing ever did before.

Air taxis

Air-taxis have come to facilitate hassle-free and comfortable air rides away from traffic congestion. Uber’s air taxis, which launched in the middle of the year, reportedly offer helicopter rides cheaper than its car rides. Also, Airbus has launched its helicopter service, Voom in the United States, chiefly in San Francisco.

With the flight paths, terminals and regulatory frameworks for sky taxis being uncertain till now, air taxis offer a mere tourist experience rather than being an option for day-to-day transit.

TNC funding

Major transport network companies (TNCs) received funds from established automakers and startup companies. Singapore-based Grab has raised a fund of $1.5 billion from Softbank in 2019. Hyundai and Kia based in South Korea invested about $300 million in Ola. Also, Tata, a leading automaker invested an undisclosed amount of money in Ola’s EV unit.

The investment flow of corporate and private equity companies into TNCs have grown up to 170% by the end of 2019. While taxi aggregators needed more vehicles to expand the business, the automakers gained stakes of the corresponding TNCs besides having massive sales opportunities.

That briefs the key ride-hailing trends of 2019 that ensured the industry’s multi-dimensional growth in the corresponding year.

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