Newcomer Juno is preparing to disrupt the New York City ride-hailing app market currently dominated by Uber and Lyft. Juno just launched their beta app which gives (updated 3/29/17) 30% off rides + no surge fees in New York City (thats 30% off of Uber's prices) – it was 35% when Juno launched. Find out how to sign up below but note that this promotion might get pulled at any time.
I recently sat down with Talmon Marco, CEO, and Keren Kessel, Marking Manager, at Juno HQ in World Trade Center and learned about their big plans. Juno's bold moves may bring some major changes to the uber crowded New York City market. It has proved popular with drivers. In a short few months, Juno has recruited 8,000 drivers, second only to Uber. The launch comes at the same time when Gett revised their $10 flat rate policy for the worse – now $10 will only get you a 30 minute ride up to 4 miles…if you can get a Gett.
How is Juno Different?
Juno focuses on the driver. The main differences I see is the 10% commission (versus 25-28%; 20% for drivers that started in 2014) plus they will give away HALF of the company's initial shares to drivers! Juno doesn't plan to compete on price. The base fare is about the same as Uber but surge pricing is better with Juno. Juno also does not plan to follow in the promotion strategies of Lyft.
- 10.5% commission for the first 24 months (ending 3/31/18) – that means drivers earn more money. I saw an Uber driver's charges for a $25 ride: Uber subtracted the 25% fee, 8.875% sales tax, and a black car fund fee totaling ~35% of the fare, leaving the driver with ~$16. Note: The commission was 10% for drivers who signed up until around October 2016, after that it is 10.5%.
- Surge pricing – get paid surge prices even though passengers don't currently have to pay (Juno picks up the extra charges)
- W-2 Employee or 1099 Contractor: the driver makes the decision
- Free cell phone and service: Juno provides an Android phone. This could be a plus or minus – have you had a ride from a driver that uses Uber, Lyft, Gett, and maybe a separate GPS and camera? I have! Some drivers will likely prefer to use their own phone. Giving the option would provide some added flexibility.
- Live phone support 24/7 so you can actually speak to a human if you need help. The typical response time is under 5 minutes.
Juno Phone Number
You can speak to a human by calling Juno's phone number 1 (855)-JUNO-USA (855-586-6872).
Driver Equity Program
Juno has allocated 50% of the 2 billion founding shares to drivers. This has big potential because drivers are now also owners and have incentive to make the company successful. As Juno gets busier, I can see drivers just turing off their Uber and Lyft apps. Drivers for competing services are mainly concerned with their own profits. The early adopting and busiest drivers can potentially do very well with this program, assuming, of course, that company is successful too! Here's how it works:
- Juno drivers and founders each get 1 billion shares.
- 25 million shares will be given to drivers pro-rata every quarter (drivers who earn the most, will get more shares for that quarter)
- The earlier a driver starts, the better chance you have. As more drivers join, the shares get split by more drivers.
- To be eligible, drivers must put in 120 hours per month for 24 out of 30 months.
- Drivers won't own half of the company since everyone's shares will get diluted as Juno brings on more investors.
- “Fair Surge”: Juno does not currently surge for passengers but drivers do get paid surge prices. The details are not currently worked out yet but here's how it might work. The surge will only apply on your base fare up to $30. For example, if the surge is 50%, the maximum you will pay in surge fees is $15 ($30 x 50%). If your base fare is $50, the surge fee will still be $15. Uber's surge fee would apply to the entire fare. Talmon explained why they called it ‘Fair Surge', “People won't have to game the system anymore because we do it for them”. If a passenger has a long ride home, they won't have to worry about an huge bill like the man who paid $1,114.71 for a 60 minute Uber drive on New Years Eve. Personally, I just wait for the surge to drop, take a Citibike, or the subway.
- 30% off your rides for new users (updated 3/29/17)
- Potentially better service from happier drivers.
- Live phone support 24/7. Typical response time is less than 5 minutes. It's too early to judge but they answered in less than 30 seconds when I called to ask a question during the evening rush hour.
35% Off Beta Promotion
Juno is offering beta users 35% off (of Uber's rates). This promotion will likely run through around August, though it depends on how things go. They can also stop on-boarding Beta users at any time, so sign up quickly if you are interested.
How To Sign Up
This is currently invite only but here's how you can get in:
- Download the iPhone or Android App
- Request an invitation
- Launch the app, select “I WAS INVITED” then enter your phone number. The app should recognize you.
Drive For Juno
- Click here to sign up to drive in NYC or sign up for their waiting list in other cities and qualify for the 10.5% commission guarantee.
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