Digital Innovation and Ridesharing in a Developing Country: The Case of Uru

Digital Innovation and Ridesharing in a Developing Country: The Case of Uru

Robert Ohene-Bonsu Simmons (University of Ghana, Ghana)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2610-1.ch007

Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to understand digital innovation in the taxi industrial structure for ridesharing in a developing country. Digital innovations are required in all aspects of an economy including the transportation industry. Drawing on a qualitative interpretive case study methodology, this chapter offers an overview of Uru's digital innovation for ridesharing in the physical taxi industrial structure in a developing country context of Ghana. The findings show that ridesharing provides riders-drivers with better journey activities, which supersedes taxi services in competition. These are electronic booking, riders' and drivers' profiles for security, transparent automatic billing for affordable transportation, and opportunities for drivers to accept a series of riders' requests at proximity. The chapter provides the implications for these findings for research and practice.
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Introduction

Understanding of how emerging information systems (IS) in the transportation industry can create service change is crucial. In recent years, IS has become more advanced and diversified and the transportation industry is not exempted (Garcia-murillo, Macinnes, & Bauer, 2018). The strategy which underpins this process is referred to as digital innovation. Digital innovation is prevalent in both developed and developing economies and it is cost-effectively transforming every aspect of life (Greenwood & Wattal, 2017). Digital innovation is defined as an opportunity to combine existing physical industrial structure and digital technology to create new products, markets, and services. It enables innovators to combine existing mainstream products, markets, and services with digital technology to develop new forms of products, services, and markets.

Car ridesharing (ridesharing) is an example of digital innovation in the transportation industry, which involves digital arrangement that enables a rider (traveller or commuter) to travel in a physical private car (ride) driven by a potential driver from a ridesharing company for a fee. Such IS or transportation information system has partially helped to minimize both riders-drivers’ challenges. As digital platforms for ridesharing continue to advance, ridesharing, however, is all about arrangement via mobile application (app) that provides on-demand ride service for riders in the taxi industry. For example, Uru ridesharing uses digital technologies to connect remote riders-drivers with an efficient matching between them for journey activities (e.g., Simmons, Effah, & Boateng, 2019). Essentially ridesharing is a digital and a physical (digital-physical). Digital-physical is a digital innovation in the physical taxi industrial structure paradigm, which has emerged to address the challenges of riders-drivers in taxi services.

Ridesharing creates competition and opposition in the transportation industry, especially among the taxi operators (Simmons, 2018). Among the challenges that riders face are shortage of services available during the raining season and peak hours in the morning and evening, and relatively high charges compared those of taxi operators (e.g., Zhou, Dou, Jia, Hu, & Xu, 2016). Ridesharing provides relief to riders who might have faced the challenges using taxi services. Nevertheless, some studies have found that ridesharing has also its challenges (e.g., Billhardt, Fernández, Ossowski, Palanca, & Bajo, 2019; Greenwood & Wattal, 2017). Thus, there is little emphasise on ridesharing in a developing country. It is, therefore, necessary to do further study to better understand the true nature and scope of the relief and challenges of ridesharing in a case study, focusing on Uru Company in Ghana. The objective of this chapter is to understand how digital innovation for ridesharing in taxi industry provides riders-drivers with better journey activities in a developing country context of Ghana. The chapter provides a conceptual framework of digital platform to explain the workflow of Uru ridesharing.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Disruptive Technology: Innovations in digital technologies, which have potentials to disrupt existing systems in competitions.

Driver App: Ridesharing mobile application installed on computing devices such as smartphones that supports drivers to connect on ridesharing platform.

Digital-Physical: A digital innovation in a physical industrial structure such as taxi industrial structure (ridesharing) and port (digital port).

Digital Innovation: Digital innovation is an ideal for creating new product, service, or market via synergy of emerging ICT and existing systems.

Rider App: Ridesharing mobile application installed on computing devices such as iPhones that supports riders to connect on ridesharing platform.

Rider: A traveller or commuter without a vehicle who arranges and travels with a private vehicle for a fee.

Ridesharing: Digital arrangements between riders-drivers for travel transactions via ridesharing platform.

Digital Platform: Interactions on digital environments such as laptops, iPhones, iPads, credit cards, social media, and mobile applications that allows resource providers and resource users to perform electronic transactions.

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