How Bandwagon.io succeeded and failed me at CES 2014

Bandwagon.io logo

Bandwagon, a shared cab and rideshare car service , had a decent presence at CES 2014. This service forces you to socially share your destination to their service and eventually who you share a cab with. That is the first thing to keep in mind when using the service. I had the opportunity to use the service more than once and here is where it succeeded and failed me.

Failure

I first encountered Bandwagon trying to get a cab between the convention center and ShowStoppers at CES. The cab line was very long and their staff was working the line to get you to install the application and use the service.  If you signed up and gave them your destination, you were moved to a dedicated line ahead of the crowd.

The first part of the failure was once you entered your info at their kiosk, it said to keep your place in line in case a match was not found. That was impossible since you had to leave it to use their kiosk. Looking back at the line we waited through I cringed. Adding to that was their application was 14MB in size on Android and the network there was incredible slow. That might be due to the 50,000 people milling around.

The second part of the failure was the ride sharing itself.  We were paired with someone going to another hotel then the one we wanted. The person that handles the cabs says that was illegal in Las Vegas and drivers there were not allowed multiple stops in a single ride. So after leaving line, using the kiosk and losing our place in line we were told by the cabs (not Bandwagon) that they could not accommodate us. Needless to say they got us our own cab feeling sorry for us as well as the other person.

According to their site this works for them in NY I guess

Q: Which factors do you consider when you make matches?

A: Bandwagon matches riders whose trips overlap. The riders may be going to different destinations, but as long as neither passenger has to go out of the way, we consider trips to be compatible.

I think the problem will be that each city or location will have to be evaluated by Bandwagon. I can see rules around car services and taxis can vary from place to place.

Q: Which factors do you consider when you make matches?

A: Bandwagon matches riders whose trips overlap. The riders may be going to different destinations, but as long as neither passenger has to go out of the way, we consider trips to be compatible.

 

bandwagon.io map

Success

I attempted t use the Bandwagon service again going to the airport. Since this is a single destination with multiple carriers it seemed to confuse them but it worked. A common destination with a discounted rate just by socially sharing my destination.

The driver then gets a tip, all riders pay a share of the ride and everything works out. The steps to pay take some getting used to. I had to dig around the Bandwagon website to see how they specified it for CES. I eventually found it if you scroll down that page.

  • You and your partner are responsible for splitting the fare yourself in advance of paying your driver.
  • The first passenger to be dropped off pays approximately half the current fare shown on the meter plus tip to the second passenger. When the second passenger is dropped off, he or she pays the entire fare to the driver. Note: The driver should not reset the meter after the first drop off.
  • Option 1 – Pay your partner in cash.
  • Option 2 – Send a free, one-time electronic payment using your debit card via Square Cash using the “Pay Partner” button in the Bandwagon app.

As you can see there is effort involved in working out who paid what amount of the ride. I did appreciate the inclusion of Square but I would feel strange about entering it into their app.

So in summary the idea is great and will reduce cars on the road, save costs for all riders and helps reduce emissions. They need to minimize the app size if possible, there isn’t much data that should be stored on the local device. Bandwagon also needs to work with and investigate all the local regulations on ridesharing and cab usage in each city first.

Has anyone else used it? Have your own feedback?