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This article was published on November 16, 2013

    Ridesharing company Sidecar drops its donation model in place of payments, only for California riders

    Ridesharing company Sidecar drops its donation model in place of payments, only for California riders Image by: Justin Sullivan
    Ken Yeung
    Story by

    Ken Yeung

    Ken Yeung is a reporter for The Next Web based in San Francisco, CA. He carries around a big camera & likes to write about tech, startup Ken Yeung is a reporter for The Next Web based in San Francisco, CA. He carries around a big camera & likes to write about tech, startups, parties, and interesting people. Follow him on Twitter, on Facebook, and Google+.

    Ridesharing service Sidecar is shifting its compensation model, moving from donations to payments. Starting today, passengers will have to pay a minimum fare for rides in serviced cities in California.

    Announced in a blog post and in an email to its customers, Sidecar cites the move by regulators with the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) in favor of ridesharing as a reason for the company’s evolution. Its CEO Sunil Paul writes:

    As a two-sided marketplace, we walk a careful balance between meeting the needs of both our drivers and passengers. Our riders depend on Sidecar to be the most reliable and affordable way to get around town. Our drivers rely on us as a fun, interesting way to make some extra money with their car. As we grow, we’ve thoughtfully reviewed our business while collecting feedback from our community. Our drivers have told us loud and clear they would drive more frequently and take longer ride requests if they could depend on fair payment every trip.

    What this means is that if you summon a Sidecar, you’ll do so knowing what the required payment will be up front. At the end, passengers can opt to increase the payment based on the level of satisfaction. As always, it’s all cashless and handled through the app.

    Screen Shot 2013-11-15 at 3.44.27 PM

    Paul also revealed that Sidecar has applied for a Transportation Network Company license in California. This is a new process regulators have put in place that will further ensure that the company is operating legally.

    Although it operates in six cities across the United States, this new payment model only affects rides in California, specifically San Francisco and Los Angeles.

    Photo credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images