Daimler’s Blacklane private driver portal gets set for huge expansion

Soon you can have private drivers waiting for you at even more locations. Blacklane, one of the world’s largest elite private driver services, is set to expand further, thanks to an additional massive financing round from Daimler Financial Services announced today on parent company Daimler’s website.

Blacklane does not supply the cars and drivers itself but acts as a portal for limousine, black car, and private driver services around the world. Currently available in more than 50 countries, 200 cities, and 400 airports, Blacklane plans to increase its global business. The exact amount of the investment is being kept private, although it was reported that Blacklane is getting an “eight-digit amount”  and that will be the largest financing round in its history.

Blacklane offers customers their choice of Economy Class, Business Class, Business Van/SUV, and First Class service. Contrary to what you might expect, the service is not limited to Mercedes-Benz vehicles, although approved car services have to use cars from select lists. For example, Economy Class is likely to be a Toyota Camry or Honda Accord; Business Class vehicles can be Mercedes E-Class, Lincoln MKT/MKS, or similar; Business Class could be a Mercedes V-Class, or Cadillac Escalade, or similar; and First Class customers are driven in a Mercedes S-Class, BMW 7 Series, Audi A8, or similar. Business Class is available in all Blacklane cities but Business Van/SUV and First Class are only in select cities.

If you use Blacklane, the service level is far greater than with taxi or ride-hail rides. Every booked ride includes complimentary wait time — 15 minutes for regular rides, 60 minutes for airport pickups. All costs are included in the booked fare, including taxes, tools, fees, and tips — you don’t need to carry cash or even a credit card. The drivers are all licensed, insured, and regulated, and you can also cancel a scheduled one-way ride up to one hour before pickup.

And all of this may be less expensive than you’d expect. A pickup at JFK International Airport in New York with a ride to the Empire State Building in Manhattan starts at $72.

Blacklane is just one of Daimler Financial Services’ mobility solutions — the list also include Car2go car-sharing and Mytaxi, which recently announced a planned merger with U.K.-based Hailo, pending government regulatory approvals. Daimler Financial Services has so far invested more than 500 million euros in its various mobility services. CEO Klaus Entenmann has said that, “We are prepared to make additional strategic investments in our mobility ecosystem.”

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