Priceline Group makes move into ground transportation with Rideways launch
The service has been developed quietly within the RentalCars division of the portfolio during 2016 and is now available in 120 countries.
Rideways will initially be a consumer-facing brand but will also be turned into a platform for B2B partners, such as airlines and airports, to include as a white-label service on their websites.
In a nutshell, Rideways allows travellers to search and book ground transportation for a personal pick-up at airports, hotels and railway stations.
It will also include the ability to search for and book rail tickets.
There are currently 250 suppliers of ground transportation services, many of which are regional players that oversee a number of locations.
Rideways is being overseen by Hikmet Babayev as its managing director (he joined RentalCars in September 2014 as its head of business development).
He says the platform will initially have a lead-in time of within 60 minutes for users to secure a service.
But, crucially, this is expected to change to feature on-demand capability at some point in the near future (perhaps as soon as within the next 18 months) for those travellers who are looking for an instant ride.
This could feature ride-sharing providers, although it is unlikely to be any Uber integration, Babayev says.
Around 800 cities in 120 countries around the world are featured in the first wave, with 20 languages and currencies supported, he adds. This is expected to increase to more than 40.
A mobile application for Rideways is also slated for launch in early-2017.
Rideways came about after a study by the company found that travellers are increasingly looking for other options alongside vehicle rentals, such as chauffeured cars and ride-hailing services.
The Priceline Group went through of process of deciding whether to “buy or build”, Babayev says, eventually opting for the latter after admitting it was unable to identify a suitable platform to power the Rideways idea.
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Kevin is senior editor and a co-founder at Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology, a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism and publishes his first book - a biography about Depeche Mode - in early-2017.