As Uber struggles to respond to its troubles in London, a collaboration between two tech companies has stepped in to debut a different model for ride sharing in the city.
Project Black Bus is a new fixed black cab route available to riders during commuter hours in London. A collaboration between Gett and Citymapper, the route launched on Monday. Gett is a black cab ride-hailing app. Citymapper is an app that helps riders navigate transport options in the cities where it operates.
Riders can get on and off the route anywhere they choose and ride as long as they would like for a fixed rate. The new Black Bus route is available in the Citymapper app as an option when it makes sense for the rider.
According to a blog post from Citymapper, the new system used the company’s data to determine gaps in the current public transportation system.
The collaboration enables the companies to evaluate options to determine the fastest routes and take advantage of available capacity in the taxis by facilitating shared rather than individual cab rides, potentially reducing congestion.
“It points to the future of public transport. We can respond quickly to user needs, by editing and evolving the route as we learn. Regular buses can’t do that. The future of the city should be smart, shared and responsive,” Citymapper wrote in the blog post.
The collaboration follows Gett’s January launch of its fixed route option for sharing cabs, known as Gett Together.
While Gett and Citymapper have been launching their new route option, ride-hailing giant Uber has faced criticism for its response to the news that the city’s transportation authority, Transport for London (TfL), would not renew its license to operate in the city when it expires at the end of this month.
The statement from TfL names four areas of concern that led to its conclusion that Uber is not “fit and proper” for a private hire operator license, including how it has handled reporting criminal activity.
After the company’s initial, somewhat combative response, Uber’s CEO published a letter to Londoners earlier this week, apologizing for mistakes the company had made and pledging to appeal TfL’s decision.
Ride sharing will likely continue to be a hot market for disruption in London and elsewhere around the world, according to recent research from Juniper. The report forecasts that revenues for ride-sharing platform providers could nearly double from an estimated $11 billion this year to $19 billion in 2022.
Innovation that helps to expand business within established markets will be key to the continued growth of the industry, the research author said in a press release.