Transportation in Boston can be quite the headache. We’ve been through the decade and a half long Big Dig, face some of the nation’s worst traffic, and have to deal with an aging public transportation system. But despite all we have working against us, there is a glimmer of hope.
Bostonians weary of the T now have more options than ever on how to get from point A to B, due to a number of new services. We’ve rounded up a list of five of them, so the next time you have to get somewhere in a jam, you’ll know where to turn.
Based out of San Francisco, Uber, a service matching users with taxis and black cars, promises to be “everyone’s private driver.” Providing service in cities across the globe and operating off of iPhone, Android, mobile web, and SMS, Uber allows users to hitch a ride by dispatching vehicles in their vicinity, creating a quick and convenient experience. To make things even easier, fares are automatically billed to a users account, taking the need for fumbling for credit cards or cash out of the equation.
Founded in London in 2011, a Hailo hail is accepted around the world every four seconds. Similar to Uber’s model, the app pairs users with a licensed taxi in as little as two taps. Currently operating in eleven cities in Europe, North America, and Asia, and available for iPhone and Android, the company has grown to earn annual revenues of over $100 million.
According to their website, “SideCar is the first ride-matching app that instantly connects people who need rides with local, vetted drivers who are available and willing to give rides.” A completely donation-based service, all the funds a user decides to transfer are entirely voluntary. The service runs totally off community drivers using their own cars, who have been prescreened for clean driving records and to make sure they have insurance. They’re currently operating in nine cities and run on Android and iPhone.
Launched in the summer of 2011 in response to Mayor Menino’s Boston Bikes program, Hubway became the city’s premier bicycle sharing program, with 600 bicycles and 60 stations located all over the city. Now in its third season, the system has grown to over 1000 bikes and more than 100 stations, with users having logged over 50,000 rides. Operating in Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, and Somerville, it has become the nation’s first truly regional bike sharing system.
Originally founded in Cambridge in 2000, Zipcar brought the European concept of car-sharing to North America. The company relieves urban customers of the burden of owning a car and provides an inexpensive alternative by providing transportation only when they need it. Since its launch, Zipcar has moved to over 50 cities across the continent and Europe, and was recently acquired by Avis.
Did we leave any other innovative companies changing transportation in Boston? Let us know in the comments.