As ridesharing becomes more of a ubiquitous part of the transportation ecosystem, the pitfalls of the industry have been put front and center. While larger ridesharing companies have made headlines for lack of driver autonomy over the years, startups have jumped in to help ensure drivers are taken care of and can earn a proper income.
One such startup is CueRide, an Atlanta-based ridesharing company working to ensure drivers are able to get a fair commission. As the team works to get the company off the ground, it is also focused on serving the local Atlanta community. This starts by helping customers get to the polls during the January election. Atlanta voters who use CueRide will enjoy $10 in ride credits to get to their precinct.
As CueRide gets off the ground, Chief Marketing Officer Joshua McKenzie answered some of Hypepotamus’ questions about the startup and the state of the ridesharing industry:
Q1. How does CueRide’s business model work? How is the app able to drive down commission fees and help drivers?
A: Our business model benefits both the drivers and riders utilizing the platform. Typically, you will find drivers who work with various platforms (i.e. work with Uber and Lyft to make up for slim margins) for their earnings. Passengers lean more towards using multiple rideshare providers based on rate and availability. Our job is catering to both. We created CueRide to put money back into the driver’s seat. We do this by charging a small monthly fee of $199, which covers operational costs, allowing us to grow the company while giving our drivers a platform they can consistently trust while earning money. Since we don’t charge commission or add on additional fees, we can charge riders less to use the platform.
Q2. Why was now the right time to launch a new ride-sharing app?
A: We’ve analyzed the rideshare market over the last five years, and in that time, we were able to re-imagine how the industry can improve. The pandemic allowed us to identify a significant flaw in the system; this flaw is that Uber’s services take up to 45% out of each drive. Drivers deserve their full commission. That’s why we developed a concept of only charging drivers a flat monthly fee allowing them to generate income without deducting extraneous costs from their earnings.
Q: How have drivers seen the platform as compared to an Uber or Lyft?
A: The only real comparison I believe we have with Uber or Lyft is the service – connecting drivers to riders. We’re a completely different brand with different strategies. We have a lot in the works right now that we’re excited to introduce to the public.
Q: What is the process of hiring a driver?
A: Safety is our number one priority. All drivers must complete a comprehensive background check and complete our online training course before they are cleared. We are also adamant about the cleanliness of the ride especially during the pandemic. Both of these factors remain at the top of our list.
Q: How big is your team right now?
A: In addition to our app developers, the team consists of our Founder, James Whitaker, and myself, Joshua McKenzie, as Chief Marketing Officer. We are looking to expand the team with a few key roles in 2021.
Q: What are your service areas? Are you in specific cities/areas?
A: Right now, our primary focus is Atlanta. We will be expanding to other areas, but we wanted to establish ourselves as a mainstay within the city and focus our efforts on positively impacting the community.
Q: Why was providing rides on January 5 important to the company?
A: The state of Georgia is hyper-focused on one of the most critical runoff elections in our history. All eyes are on Atlanta, especially with the city having such an impact on turning Georgia blue during the presidential election. Every person has a right to vote, and that option should not come down to not having adequate transportation. CueRide will provide all Atlanta riders with a $10 credit to get to and from their voting station. We are working on a few give-back initiatives that we believe will positively impact the Atlanta community.
Q: Are you looking for funding in the new year?
A: One of the key differentiators about our company is that it’s entirely self-funded. We have a specific goal and it’s to benefit the drivers while providing a safe, secure and affordable platform riders can use. When you add investors into the mix, things tend to get overlooked and pushed to the side for a quick ROI.