When the car service app Lyft came to New York there were a number of people (myself included) who never thought they’d make a dent. Uber, that aptly named behemoth, was already a staple in most boroughs, especially in Brooklyn where, before green taxi cabs were lining the streets, private car companies like Arecibo and Evelyn were the best option to get around. Uber, “Everyone’s Personal Driver,” was just a few taps of the iPhone away, with an approximate arrival time, payment linked directly to your credit card and no worry that your pickup might be intercepted by a roving black car with a CB radio. Now, even with competitors like Lyft, Gett, Via and Way2Ride increasing in popularity, Uber has an estimated 35,000 drivers in New York alone and is making plans to put more on the road. Yet again, it would seem impossible for any new app to make a dent with riders who already have their share of options. But, what if a company was going after drivers first and riders later?
A new company called Juno, which launched its beta app model earlier this year, is trying to do just that. It avoided the traditional route of marketing to riders first; instead, reached out directly to drivers from Uber and Lyft to join the company and help build the customer rolodex from the ground up. And with a lower commission and other perks, it seems to be working.
“Uber is losing drivers. I am working with [Uber] only to pay my lease,” one driver told me, “Once I hit $400 for the week, I turn off the app” and turn on Juno.
While other ride share app companies have found success following Uber’s lead, none have been able to actually siphon off drivers for good. So, is Juno the company that could finally push Uber out? Drivers seem to think so. (more…)