ONE of the big questions facing the business-travel industry is the extent to which it will embrace the sharing economy. Corporate-travel bookers, for example, are still deciding what they think about Airbnb. While road warriors seem to like staying in strangers' apartments, the suits back at HQ worry about booking their employees into places which have been subject to less stringent health-and-safety checks than the brand-name establishment next door.

But companies do not appear to have the same qualms about ride-sharing. In the first quarter of 2016, services such as Uber and Lyft accounted for 46% of business “ground transportation” trips in America, according to Certify, an expense-management firm. That compares with 40% for car-hire and a piddling 14% for taxis. The share of business trips taken by taxi in America has dropped by 23 percentage points over the past two years.

Within the ride-sharing sector, Uber dominates. Stripping out those who hired a car, who are often travelling between cities, Uber has a 69% market share of business trips. Lyft has 4%. But Lyft’s share has been growing from that low base. Some think it is...Continue reading