Above, CES 2014 conference attendees wait in famously long lines for cabs (Photo credit: Intel Free Press). Bandwagon's cab sharing kiosk, pictured below, allowed some to cut the lines if they were willing to share a ride, saving time and money in the process.
Last week tech gurus and startup hopefuls flocked to Las Vegas for CES 2014, the globally renown consumer technology tradeshow where new companies and incumbents alike vie to grab the limelight. With the sharing economy gaining increasing recognition as a game changer, it perhaps should come as no surprise that Bandwagon, the New York City-based taxis sharing service, was named a winner of Verizon’s Powerful Answers Award, receiving $700,000 for breaking the anti-social, unsustainable status quo with its innovative and eco-conscious approach to sharing cab rides.
Bandwagon brought their award-winning cab sharing system to the conference for the first time, helping attendees get around faster and for a lower cost with a mobile app and curb-side kiosks (pictured below). By opting into Bandwagon’s Priority Rideshare Lane—which is similar to a highway high-occupancy-vehicle lane, but for the taxi stand—people could skip the conference’s famously long taxi lines, split the fare with another passenger matched by the service, and feel good about cutting congestion and emissions at the same time.
"We're thrilled to be a Powerful Answers Award winner, and to be able to help improve transportation at the world's biggest electronics expo, solving major congestion issues at CES using consumer electronics and sharing," said David Mahfouda, Bandwagon's President and CEO.
Since I last spoke with Mahfouda, Bandwagon has expanded its service from New York City to Montreal with the goal of building “a route-consolidation platform for anywhere” by tapping into existing infrastructure, such as networks of taxi drivers, car services, and passengers. Now riders can also split their fare securely with a credit or debit card using Square Cash.
With these new developments, Bandwagon is not only providing a transit solution that will likely make our cities healthier and safer places to live, but also providing people who might not otherwise have the budget for a taxi ride with another transportation option. This disruptive solution is helping to make sharing fundamental to urban living. And without any of the drama that Uber and their ilk (today protesters in Paris attacked an Uber car) are facing as Bandwagon optimizes existing infrastructure and works within existing regulations.