Canadian rideshare HOVR focuses on driver fairness with a membership model keeping 100% of fares. Facebook / Ride HOVR

HOVR, a new ridesharing company in Toronto, is shaking things up by allowing drivers to keep 100 percent of their fares. Intrigued? Here's how it works.

Living up to its motto of "100% Fare is 100% Fair," HOVR prioritises its drivers by guaranteeing they retain all their earnings. HOVR emphasises transparency and fairness for drivers and riders, underscoring their commitment to a balanced service.

According to Founder and President Harrison Amit, the HOVR app offers a familiar user experience akin to other ridesharing platforms but with a key advantage.

The Challenge of Balancing Rider and Driver Needs

"The difference with us is that instead of the driver losing 30 per cent plus of their earnings from every ride, they keep 100 per cent of the fares," the top executive said in an interview with Now Toronto.

"So, our slogan is, '100 percent fare is 100 percent fair' and what that means is, when drivers are working for HOVR, the breakdown of the fare they receive is 100 percent," he added. This raises the question: With drivers keeping 100 percent of the fare, how does HOVR generate revenue? The answer lies in their membership model.

To unlock access to the platform, drivers opt for a flat monthly membership fee of $20, as Amit explained. HOVR adopts a win-win approach to separate itself from competitors.

The founder further highlights that riders can expect to enjoy roughly 20 percent lower fares on HOVR compared to established ridesharing companies. Amit reports a phenomenal response, with over 10,000 drivers joining the platform since its May 2 launch, a testament to this innovative method.

"That's actually about three times more than what we were planning for. So, we've just been hiring more people and onboarding internal members to be able to process all the drivers from the response," he said.

While HOVR is experiencing overwhelming rider demand, Amit said the company faces a temporary hurdle in processing driver applications. Municipal regulations limit daily onboarding to one thousand drivers.

The Birth of HOVR

Amit was inspired to create HOVR after moving to Toronto in 2018. He found the city's public transit system difficult and time-consuming to navigate. This likely led him to rely heavily on ridesharing apps for his daily commute.

This frequent use of ridesharing apps for his meetings led him to dozens of conversations with drivers, where he learned about the challenges they face.

"I had a lot of drivers to talk to, and so it was through the conversations that I was having, you know, genuine interactions with drivers, they're telling me a day in the life, where they're from, how this works, and why they do it," he said.

His rideshare experiences revealed a common thread: tens of thousands of drivers, many newcomers to Canada, worked long hours to support themselves or reunite their families. Amit connects with their stories, having an immigrant father himself and growing up in a small Nova Scotia town.

Seeking industry change, the founder built a platform focused on equity and transparency, offering opportunity to those who need it most.

"The reality of the situation is that they are sometimes just breaking even, well below minimum wage after calculating after expenses, right, just based off of the current rideshare platforms and how they're treated. And it's only been getting worse year over year," he explained.

"From a rider perspective, in order to provide a better experience, we want to first and foremost have a happy driver. Secondly, transparency. That was one of the things that I identified earlier about the rideshare industry," he continued.

Amit also pointed out that there is a lack of transparency. The riders have no idea what the driver earns. Similarly, the driver doesn't know what the rider is paying, which, according to the 28-year-old CEO, creates "transactional animosity."

Amit believes transparency in business operations fosters a stronger sense of community and cultivates a deeper appreciation from riders. "Having drivers be able to earn more per ride on a daily basis, it just contributes to a better overall ecosystem, a better experience for the riders as well as the drivers," he said. "We have a philosophy at HOVR that's 'happy driver, happy rider'"

Ridesharing companies constantly innovate to find the spot between rider and driver satisfaction. One approach, like Lyft's recent focus on adding more female drivers, may have additional benefits. Interestingly, Lyft's stock price has risen 7 percent this year.

It is also worth noting that ridesharing platforms like Uber and Lyft offer a crucial lifeline for many immigrants facing language barriers. These platforms allow immigrants to earn a living in the US without requiring extensive English fluency.