To Share…or Not To Share

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Shared cars are not a nationwide option…it seems Chicago is one of the few markets that supports the shared car…so it should be no surprise that people are confused by the concept. What is a “shared car” anyway?
To make it easy, a shared care simply means that a client is willing to share his or her transportation to or from the airport, provided certain conditions are maintained. First – and arguably most important – a discounted rate must apply. There is no sense in sharing if the cost isn’t favorable. Second, timing is a factor. Sharing a ride should not cause a traveler stress or put him or her at risk of missing a flight. Privacy is something else to consider. In an age where family, friends, and co workers can speed-dial you at any time, private conversations could become someone else’s entertainment.
From our earliest days, O’Hare-Midway Limousine Service has offered, and perfected the use of shared rides. While some of our competition used the concept to maximize profit at the expense of their clients who didn’t know better (using “cattle car” tactics that threaten the convenience and comfort of their customers) we chose to limit the number of shared car rides put in each vehicle. This made the ride more comfortable, and the overall experience less “taxing” on the rider.
Discounts apply for shared car riders. The typical fare for a shared ride is about 30% less than a private car ride. We make an effort to manage the time between shared riders, only matching up clients that are around 15 minutes apart. We can’t do much about the privacy issues, but that is something for a client to consider when making a reservation.
For whatever reason, the percentage of shared car business has dropped dramatically over the last decade or so. It seems like a lot of factors could be responsible for the shift, whether it is overall cost, client security concerns, or just individual preferences. Still, with around 20% of our reservations being shared rides; it would appear they’ll be sticking around a while longer.
Many of our competitors in the Chicago limo market gave up on shared rides a while ago. It may not have been a popular decision, especially with their corporate transportation partners who are essentially rate driven. But there are a few of us that continue to offer the option, and oddly enough, it’s due in large part to the need for low cost corporate transportation (yes…those same clients our competitors tossed aside) that fuels the need for shared rides alternatives.
As you can see, limousine service is not just fancy stretched out vehicles for weddings and special occasions. A shared car option is competitive with a taxi rate in some areas, and the quality of the ride…well; let’s just say there is NO comparison. But the choice is in the hands of the customer. Choose wisely.

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Dale Schahczinski
Goal driven team leader, with industry experience spanning all aspects of operations and administration.