Safe Ground Transportation for Business Travelers Today

There is no question, the car is the star of personal travel at the moment as passengers are wary of catching the coronavirus while on public transport. Unfortunately, many corporate commuters simply cannot rely long-term on cars in urban environments; and a safe commute is essential to getting employees back into the office.
5 min read
04/22/21
All articles
By Vasily Malinov
Vice President, Travel, Transportation & Hospitality
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Safe Ground Transportation for Business Travelers Today

The above-mentioned is the reason why many businesses are starting to put pressure on ground transportation companies, to make journeys back into the office as risk-free as possible for their staff, and thereby reignite employee engagement and productivity.

But as well-established transportation networking companies and platforms like Uber and Lyft struggle to find their feet in this new, health-conscious travel landscape, smaller players have quietly carved a niche for themselves by targeting business users specifically. Several key successes have led to a flurry of activity from other ride hailing and mobility market participants — including new startups — and a massive influx of funding. The changes occurring in the business transportation sector will potentially threaten the market norms for some time to come. We are going to take a look at what exactly has been happening, and who the major players are.

Who Is Innovating in the Business Transportation Sector?

Gett

UK-Israeli company Gett recently raised an impressive $115M for its on-demand ride-hailing platform for business users. The company started out as a more direct competitor to the likes of Uber and Lyft, but now focuses mainly on ground transportation services for business clients in major cities around the world. Thanks to the recent pandemic and changing needs of consumers, the company is already operationally profitable and hitting its budget targets. «We are on a journey to transform corporate ground travel, and I a’m delighted that investors find our model attractive,» says Gett CEO, Dave Waiser.

Blacklane

Gett is not the only company changing the personal transportation game though. German chauffeur service Blacklane, which previously specialised in airport transfers, is now also tapping into demand for safe intercity travel. The company operates in more than 300 cities and 50 countries, and it saw its revenue crumble as the pandemic halted air travel. But Blacklane has been able to weather the storm by diversifying its services and implementing intercity travel initiatives, such as an intercity fare programme which introduced a flat travel rate, while allowing passengers to avoid the crowds and boarding procedures of mass travel.

Blacklane has raised €22 million from existing investors to beef up its local and regional ride service, as well as green travel options. This fresh round of cash comes just three weeks after the announcement of Blacklane’s jump into the ride hailing game, and six weeks after acquiring the majority stake in London’s all-electric chauffeur service Havn. This last investment makes them the first carbon-neutral ride service worldwide, and the company reports that this year it will offset its carbon emissions from 2016 back to its 2011 founding.

While still relatively new, Blacklane’s ride hailing programme puts it in direct competition with Uber, but with a twist: set fares calculated by distance only, thus eliminating the dreaded pricing surge when demand spikes. This difference promises to make Blacklane and others innovating in this sector a genuine threat to the duopoly of Uber and Lyft.

How Are Established Companies Keeping Pace?

The threat to their business model has not gone unnoticed, and established travel platforms are scrambling to keep up.

Ola

Mobility platform Ola is eyeing a bigger share of the corporate sector; its aim is to roll out a new platform, Ola Corporate, across the UK, Australia and New Zealand, after its successful launch in its home market of India (with 10,000 businesses signed up so far). The platform aims to simplify both the traveler and travel managers’ life by enabling payment from a company’s centralized account, removing the burden of individual expense claims. It is also investing $64 million over the next 12 months to develop new safety initiatives.

Lyft

Lyft already has a presence in the corporate space with Lyft Business, but it has recently launched Lyft Pass to allow businesses to create custom transportation programs for commuters and essential workers, while controlling variables such as cost, ride type, and pick-up/drop-off location. Companies can customize their program rules and restrictions to ensure the rides are always in policy, including limiting to certain locations, times of day, and ride types. Already, nearly 200,000 employees in the United States get to and from work using Lyft.

Groundscope

Booking platform Groundscope, from the UK, is also continuing to expand, and has raised $1.3 million to continue developing its new booking system with DataArt. This system allows travelers to choose from over 600 local ground transportation services.

Careem

Careem is another established player making moves as it begins intercity services from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. Its new app will provide ride-hailing, food delivery and Careem Pay services to all of its 33 million registered users. It is also introducing a subscription model on its Super App.

Taxida

Lastly, Chennai-based taxi marketplace Taxida launched during lockdown to ease intercity trips. The startup is targeting a gross booking value of $3.2 million, riding on the renewed interest in out-station travel.

Outdoors Travel Goes Digital

What Does This Mean for Business Travel?

It seems that the trend away from mass transit is here to stay, and ride hail is lending itself well to the need for safe workforce travel across short distances. In the short term especially, smarter corporate mobility could play a key role in helping businesses get their teams back to the office. But to quickly and effectively pivot, transportation businesses have had to implement new programs associated with subscription models, flat rates, and platform integrations. All of this requires a reliable tech partner. DataArt is helping Blacklane, Gett, Groundscope and a number of other players in the industry leverage technology to achieve the best results, and we can help you too. Get in touch for more information.

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