Car Industry

BMW ReachNow combines ride hailing, car sharing in one app

It's the first company to put both mobility options in a single app.

Some days, you want to just get out and drive. Other days, maybe you just want to be driven. Now, users of BMW's ReachNow service can do both without having to juggle apps.

BMW announced today that it has launched a ride-hailing program within the ReachNow app, offering users the ability to either drive or be driven, depending on their preference, in addition to scheduling a pickup for later on. BMW claims it's the first company to offer both methods within a single app.

Being able to set the radio and temperature before the ride even arrives is a nice touch, as is the "quiet time" feature.

BMW

ReachNow's app splits mobility up in two categories -- Drive or Ride. Drive operates like usual, allowing subscribers to reserve time in one of ReachNow's cars, comprising either BMW or Mini vehicles. Users pay by the minute, hour or day, depending on how long the car is needed.

Ride, on the other hand, is a traditional ride-hailing service. ReachNow will rely on professional drivers for a "consistent, quality" experience. Users will be able to set their preferences ahead of time, so drivers can set the temperature a certain way or tune to a specific radio station. There's even a "quiet time" feature that lets drivers know when a rider doesn't want to be bothered. Rides can be scheduled immediately or up to a week in advance.

If you're unsure which method of travel you want to take, the app can help you figure it out. A new destination bar will give the user an estimated price and time of arrival for both Ride and Drive, in the event one is demonstrably less expensive than the other. The app can also beam the destination right to a shared car's navigation system, so drivers don't have to bother with setting the nav system once they reserve a car.

The system will undergo a limited rollout at first. Seattle users will have access to both Ride and Drive, while folks in Portland and New York City will be stuck with just car sharing for now. New members who are interested in the Ride component will have their signup fee waived. Ride's pricing is pretty straightforward -- it'll cost $2.40 per mile plus 40 cents per minute, with a minimum total cost of $3.24, and there's no surge pricing whatsoever.