Communities / Data / Transportation

Now that it’s not offering rides, what’s next for Split?

We spoke with CEO Ario Keshani, who says the company is pivoting away from consumers and toward city governments.

Split wants to use data to help cities do transportation better. (Photo by Flickr user Josh Hallett, used under a Creative Commons license)

As of Monday this week, D.C.-born ridesharing service Split is no longer offering its signature “smarter shared rides” around the city. But that doesn’t mean the company is shutting down — as was announced last week, the change marks the beginning of “a new chapter.”
So what does that mean, exactly? chatted with CEO Ario Keshani to get a sense for the direction of the company moving forward.
“The reason we’re doing this repositioning,” Keshani said, “is that we think we can use our tech and algorithm in ways that will be more impactful.”
Over the past year and a bit in D.C., and before that with a trial run in Helsinki, the Split team has “learned a lot” about the ups and downs, ins and outs of city transport and the movement of people in an urban environment. Now the company is looking for a new way to share that data.
Essentially, this means a pivot from a consumer-facing product to a city government and business-facing service. Keshani’s concept sees Split “sitting down with cities and specifically identifying, with the help of their data and our data, what we can do to solve their [transportation] challenges.”
Of course, “none of our decisions are made in a vacuum,” Keshani said, citing Uber and Lyft’s market saturation. Even in a local space, it’s difficult to compete with well-funded giants boasting national and international name recognition.
As for the specific services the new Split will offer, a lot, it seems, will be dependent on what precise pain points cities are trying to solve. “We’ve spoken with a number of different cities,” Keshani said, but the company has yet to strike a deal. What is he looking for? “A city we can best pull efficiencies out of.”
One thing, certainly, is true — we’ll be keeping an eye on what Split does next.

Companies: Split / Lyft / Uber

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