January 20, 2017 Last Updated 9:40 am

Guest column: The new way millennials are hailing a taxi

A ReportLinker survey reveals that the difference in brand recognition between Uber and other services is drastic, with Lyft only cited by 3 percent of respondents unaided

Shared mobility. Have you not heard? Or maybe you are more acquainted with the term “Uber.”  So is more than 50% of the 540 respondents to a recent ReportLinker survey. Uber has been so successful in paving new ground and marketing their app-based taxi-type service that it has essentially become synonymous with term “shared-mobility.” When respondents were asked about their familiarity with shared mobility transportation options, they were more likely to mention a brand name than a type of service. Uber was mentioned by 57% of respondents unaided and 96% of respondents when aided.

The difference in brand recognition between Uber and other services is drastic. Lyft was only cited by 3% of respondents unaided and 75% of respondents when aided.  City Car Share and ZipCar where only mentioned by 1% of respondents unaided and when aided, 6% and 42% of the time respectively. Other lesser known ride-sharing companies, Enterprise CarShare, Hertz On-Demand, Car2Go and others, were not mentioned unaided at all. Though car-sharing has been in the market since 2000, when ZipCar began operations, Uber is the first on consumers’ minds.

There is, however, a difference among the types of shared-mobility services. Ride-hailing services, like Uber and Lyft are more equivalent to the traditional taxi and are more popular. Eighty-two percent (82%) of survey respondents reported using a ride-hailing service versus only 12% who reported using a ride-sharing service.

Evaluating Millennials alone, there is a greater comfort-level with using ride-hailing services compared to older generations.  They also show a greater recognition for brands like Uber (98%), Lyft (84%) and ZipCar (49%). Millennials also reported that, when going out in the evening, they use a ride-hailing service 70% of the time compared to 58% of all respondents. This might be because they are less likely to own a car or because these services are most popular in urban areas where alternative transportation options are more available.

In other contexts, 42% of respondents reported using ride-hailing services to travel short distances and less than 20% reported using these services to go to work, for long distance travel or to go shopping. A striking 44% of respondents reported hailing a ride between 1 and 3 times per month.  Millennials, were more likely to hail a ride 2-5 times per week compared to all respondents

Among the top reasons for using ride-hailing services include ease of use short wait time and efficiency Twenty-eight percent (28%) reported that ride-hailing services reduced their transportation costs but only 8% reported hailing rides to avoid purchasing a car.  Less enthusiastically only 10% of respondents chose ride-hailing services to reduce their environmental impact.

There is a general positive attitude about shared mobility services among the survey respondents.  Average experience satisfaction scores were a 4.3 out of 5.  In other words, most riders were totally satisfied with their experience.  Among the main negative features of the service respondents reported were a lessened feeling of safety as well as the lack of data privacy and data security Among the main positive features included accessibility and ease of payment Twenty-two percent (22%) also reported that the low cost was a feature they liked.

It is clear that ride-hailing services have changed the traditional view of a taxi.  By incorporating technology in the business model, these services may be long-lasting into the future.  Millennials have embraced the service as a main transportation alternative because of the cost, ease of use and ease of payment.

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