When you hear the word ridesharing, what comes to mind?

Riding to work with a friend, driving neighborhood kids to school, or chartered vans, UberPOOL, and LyftLine?

With the rise of shared mobility, many of us are familiar with the term ridesharing. It often dominates conversations about shared mobility, to the point where people now associate ridesharing with only Uber and Lyft. In reality, ride-hailing is a much more accurate way to describe their business model as these transportation network companies (TNCs) more closely resemble hailing a taxi.

However, ridesharing and ride-hailing couldn’t be more different. Let’s break down the differences between the two.

Ridesharing vs. ride-hailing: the lowdown

Here are the main differentiators between ride-hailing and ridesharing:

  • Ride-hailing is when a rider hails a driver to take them to a destination of their choice. The vehicle isn’t typically shared with other riders and doesn’t make multiple stops. Ride-hailing is essentially an on-demand taxi service, characteristic of the core experience of using apps like Uber and Lyft. Drivers are hired and employed by the company.
  • Ridesharing is most similar to carpooling. By definition, carpooling is an arrangement between people—usually co-workers or neighbors —who travel in the same direction and share a vehicle. In ridesharing, riders of the vehicle share origination and destination points, and the goal is to utilize the existing resources on the road as much as possible. Drivers are not employed as a professional driver; rather, they are simply driving their car as they would normally during their commute, and choose to bring passengers along the way.  

They each satisfy their own respective needs

Historically, people tend to carpool for a few initial reasons:

  1. To split commute cost
  2. To save time in a carpool lane
  3. Enjoy the commute with a fellow carpooler

When carpooling becomes a sustainable routine for commuters, they experience unexpected benefits—less stress, rising productivity, and an increased chance of staying at their current employer. We’ll dive deeper into that later, though.

Ride-hailing is more useful in the short-term and is transactional in nature.

While carpooling works as a partnership between riders and drivers, ride-hailing platforms allow the rider to hire the driver for on-demand trips. Thus, both parties aren’t heading in the same direction on a pre-planned journey; the trip is purely transactional. What’s more, ride-hailing trips typically occur within dense urban environments and are less cost-effective for longer commutes. Carpooling, on the other hand, is more flexible, cost-effective, and convenient for long-distance commuters who don’t have access to infrastructure like public transportation.

For these reasons, ride-hailing presents an entirely different transportation experience from ridesharing and satisfies immediate, short-distance, and short-term needs, rather than offering an impactful solution for longer commuters.

But what about services like UberPOOL and LyftLine?

UberPOOL and LyftLine, at their core, operate the same way as traditional ride-hailing: drivers are employed by a third-party company to take multiple riders to different locations. While there is a shared element of the journey, the passengers and driver still conduct a service transaction.

Drivers in a carpool:

  • Aren’t employed by a third party
  • Aren’t independent contractors
  • Are compensated directly by their passengers only for the cost of the commute
  • Regularly travel to the same location or direction.

Studies have also found that these ride-hailing services still place additional cars on roadways, increasing traffic congestion in concentrated areas of operation. In contrast, carpooling removes cars by reducing the number of vehicles that commuters would’ve otherwise driven themselves, or hailed with an app.

Then there’s the honest truth: carpooling changes lives

From improving well-being to boosting productivity at work, there are many ways that an improved commute can transform your life, but it’s not until after commuters get into a carpool that they realize its impact. They begin to find that the benefits of carpooling go beyond just saving money and time.

One survey found that after carpooling with Scoop, nearly 80% of carpoolers were less stressed, and 50% said they felt more energized and productive at work. About 92% of respondents also reported that they’ve had opportunities to meet new people, network, and exchange ideas with co-workers. Additionally, 70% of carpoolers said that they were more likely to stay at their current employer after carpooling with Scoop.

We spend over 200 hours commuting to work on average per year. And while we can’t eliminate the commute, we can provide ways to make it more enjoyable, from making new friends, discovering new experiences, and making better use of commuters’ valuable time. That’s the way people should spend their commute. Not alone in the car, isolated.

So, what are the biggest differentiators between ridesharing and carpooling?

Ride-hailing is a transaction that gets you from A to B for short-distance trips. Carpooling is an experience. It’s impactful. It can improve our well-being. Our work. The quality of our commute. And, most of all, carpooling can change our lives.

Hopefully, now you’ve gained a better grasp of the differences between ridesharing and ride-hailing. By understanding the ever-growing mobility ecosystem, we can make informed decisions about which modes of transportation are best for our personal –and professional – needs.


Chris Cox

Chris Cox

Chris Cox is a Social Media Manager at Scoop, producing and distributing editorial content across all digital platforms. When he isn’t busy trying to create something, you can find him on Netflix or at your local Taco Bell drive-thru.

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