Understanding ride-sourcing drivers' behaviour and preferences: Insights from focus groups analysis

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Ride-sourcing has recently been at the centre of attention as the most disruptive mode of transport associated with the so-called shared mobility era. Drivers, riders, the platform, policymakers, and the general public are considered as the main stakeholders of the system. While ride-sourcing platforms have been growing, so did the heightened tension between them and their drivers. That is why understanding drivers' behaviour and preferences is of key importance to ride-sourcing companies in managing their relationship with drivers (also known as driver-partners) and in retaining them in the presence of competence. Ride-sourcing drivers are not only chauffeurs but fleet owners. They can make various operational and tactical decisions that directly influence other stakeholders and the transport system performance as a whole. Conducting a series of focus groups with ride-sourcing drivers in the Netherlands, we have studied their opinions about the system functionalities as well as their possible interactions with the platform and wishes for changes. The focus group results suggest that the main decisions of drivers, which are ride acceptance, relocation strategies, working shift and area in which to work, could be affected by many elements depending on platform strategies, drivers' characteristics, riders' attributes, and exogenous factors. We find that part-time and full-time drivers, as well as experienced and beginning drivers, are characterized by distinctive behaviour. Flexibility and freedom were mentioned as the key reasons for joining the platform while an unfair reputation system, unreliable navigation algorithm, high competition between drivers, passenger-oriented platform, high-commission fee, and misleading guidance were acknowledged as being the main system drawbacks. Based on our findings, we propose a conceptual model that frames the relationship between the tactical and operational decisions of drivers and related factors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100516
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalResearch in Transportation Business and Management
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Driver's Behaviour
  • Qualitative Research
  • Ride-sourcing
  • Shared Mobility
  • Transport Network Companies


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