San Francisco-based Sidecar, which launched its service in Seattle 15 months ago and enables everyday drivers to shuttle people around town, revamped its app to allow drivers to set their own prices and distances they’re willing to travel.
Meanwhile, riders have more options, too: They can now filter available drivers based on price, type of vehicle, proximity and a star-rating system.
The app also now features big pictures of driver vehicles, a small driver bio and a more accurate GPS tracker. Sidecar has kept its price estimator feature in the app, something that competitors like UberX and Lyft have always left out.
The company also announced a $10 million Series B round, which TechCrunch notes was actually closed this past summer.
The updates and fresh funding come as city governments around the country try to figure out how to regulate companies like Sidecar, Lyft and UberX. The debate is particularly rabid here in Seattle, where a Sidecar spokesperson tells us that there are nearly 1,000 Sidecar drivers making money from the service.
The Seattle City Council’s Committee for Taxi, For-hire, and Limousine Regulations has been going back-and-forth on this issue for several months now. Many in the tech industry have argued that the ride-sharing companies offer a more innovative and convenient alternative to traditional taxi cabs, and that the city should not regulate them. Others, especially those in the taxi and for-hire industry, say that the new services should be regulated or curtailed, and that they should not get a free pass on regulations simply because they utilize new methods for attracting riders.
The Committee originally planned to vote this past Friday on a proposed ordinance that would cap the number of UberX, Lyft and Sidecar drivers in the city to 300, but delayed the vote to Feb. 27.
See all of our coverage on the ride-sharing issue here.