Ride Sharing Coming to JeffCo, Perhaps

9 Sep

Uber, the ridesharing service that lets you hail a ride with a smartphone app (and find a passenger if you are an Uber driver) is active in St. Louis City and County, but not here in JeffCo (specifically, you can get dropped off in JeffCo but not picked up). However, there is a new rideshare company that might start operating here in the near future.

The company is called Curvesides, and the company’s Missouri manager says that it will be active in the county when “100 riders who would love to drive” have signed up. The company is apparently live in St. Louis already.

Uber in STL charges riders a base fare of $1.75, plus $1.50 per mile, and Uber drivers get to keep about 80% of that. Curvesides says its drivers will pay the company a flat $60 per week, unless they make less than $300 in a week, in which case drivers pay 25% to the company. As for fares, Curvesides will charge a base fare of $6.75 (for 2 miles) plus $1.35 per mile. Curvesides will apparently not charge surge fares like Uber does when it is busy. Surges can increase fares by 2x or more during periods of high demand (like after a major concert).

Ride sharing is an alternative to taxis for getting home from the bar, going to the airport, or any other time you need a ride. Curvesides would have to reach a saturation point where you can get a ride any time of day within a few minutes in order to be a useful option. Uber has reached that point in St. Louis.

For those who want to make some extra money, ride sharing is a way to work whenever you want and wherever you want, independently. For Curvesides to be a worthwhile money-making opportunity, it will have to have a large rider base, to make it worth the effort for drivers. It does not appear to be close to reaching that point, even in St. Louis.

Insurance

Details about the service seem a bit vague, judging by the two websites I have linked above. One thing to consider, if you want to be a driver, is insurance. Your regular auto insurance company would frown upon you doing ride sharing, and probably drop you if they knew you were doing it (though some companies offer ride sharing riders to their policies). Uber covers you if you are heading to pick up a passenger, or transporting one, but if you are just driving around with the app on, waiting for a customer, you are not covered.

Curvesides reps say that “we have 1.5 million dollars of commercial insurance which will pay for what your insurance wont, unless your at fault then it becomes like all other insurance.” Their website, though, says “Curvesides has a  Million Dollar Commercial Liability insurance policy.” This is something you may want to get more information on if you want to be a driver.

The company has a Missouri specific Facebook page for drivers. They seem to be fairly responsive if you have questions.

I am a bit skeptical of the long term prospects of this venture, but check it out if it is something that interests you.

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