Sidecar now lets you pick a driver — and pay for it

SHARE Sidecar now lets you pick a driver — and pay for it

Sidecar is taking its payment model in a different direction. Again.

In an email to users Thursday, the on-demand car service — which employs regular folks driving their own cars — said riders could now choose who will pick them up. The Sidecar app lets users select a driver by ETA, price, or vehicle make and model.

The email said: “Running late for a meeting? Pick the closest driver. On a budget? Pick the lowest price. Got a hot date? Pick the sweetest ride.”

Options for a ride Thursday afternoon from the Merchandise Mart to Eataly ranged from a wait of 8 to 43 minutes, a fare of $8 to $10, and in vehicles like a 2005 Mazda 3 or a 2011 Honda Odyssey.

Last month, Sidecar started using set rates per ride instead of a “suggested donation” model. At the time, the company said set rates were put in place as a way to get more Sidecar drivers on the streets.

“[Drivers] told us they would drive more frequently if they could count on reliable payment for every trip,” Sidecar spokeswoman Margaret Ryan said in December.

She said the then-new rates would run 30 to 40 percent less than cab fares. Ryan on Thursday declined to answer questions about how the new rates would shake out.

“We’re currently running a test in Chicago to make Sidecar an even better experience for our riders and drivers,” she said by email. “We will have more to tell about it soon.”

ABOVE: This photo of Chicago Sidecar driver Hans was definitely not taken in January.

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