Smartphones can access a different car-service platform for seemingly every letter in the alphabet, but hailing the likes of a Hyundai Sonata doesn’t represent the tech’s most elevated application. Case in point: An increasing number of mobility apps are taking the model to new levels of exclusivity.
Riders Share, established in 2018, offers the largest fleet of motorcycles in the US and provides an experience that’s seamless, intuitive and quick. When “Los Angeles” is entered into the search window, dozens of motorcycles, from rocket-like Aprilias to loaded Harley baggers, populate the screen. After a friend and I make our selections and choose the usually added expense for delivery and pickup, a gleaming candy-red Ducati Panigale V4 and a customized BMW café-racer appear in the driveway the next morning—both in mint condition and perfect for exploring Pacific Coast Highway and the canyons of Malibu. Back home, we pop open a couple of cold ones while our rides are retrieved.
But motorcycles are just the start. RVshare has leveraged the segment’s blockbuster growth during the pandemic to become the world’s first and largest recreational-vehicle rental app. The choice of more than 100,000 examples range from travel trailers to deluxe motorhomes to rock-star buses Bon Jovi would feel at home touring in.
Of course, to supply the demand of the most affluent demographic, luxury mobility solutions are also solving for air and sea. App-based private-jet services, such as Wheels Up and VistaJet, have existed for years, but new player Flewber allows you to book one-way or roundtrip for up to 16 people and then selects the optimum airport for your itinerary. Need to access somewhere jets can’t go? Wheels Up has formed an alliance with Bell Textron to make helicopters available to clients, and, this summer, Flexjet became the first (and only) private-jet provider to purchase them for its fleet, including Sikorsky S-76s, to complement the array of Bombardier, Embraer and Gulfstream executive aircraft.
Then there’s Europe’s aptly named Click&Boat, which recently entered the stateside market with 1,000 watercraft, part of a flotilla of more than 40,000 privately owned vessels docked in ports around the globe. Now competing with US-based GetMyBoat and Boatsetter, Click&Boat allows users to book a “bay-cation.” Selections can be tailored by size and style as well as the desired timeframe—hour, day or week—and location, whether it’s an eight-person Boston Whaler to fish Southern California’s Channel Islands or a helicopter-equipped 145-foot Suncoast to celebrate an anniversary in the Antilles. And, as with all of these upscale mobility apps, everything can be done while waiting for your macchiato to cool.