Welcome to the future of transportation. Download an app, tap the screen on your iPhone or Android device to locate yourself on the map and hit “Request.” It’s easy, it’s fun and now, it’s legal.
Lyft is part of a growing community of rideshare services in the state of California. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recently formally recognized this industry under the category of “Transportation Network Companies,” which includes other services such as Sidecar, Uber and InstantCab. Anyone can become a Lyft driver, as long as they go through the necessary application process. It’s a reflection of the ever-growing sharing economy that is teaching us to make our resources more accessible to a larger population.
From the passenger perspective, the experience is friendly and social. Hop into the passenger seat of the car, which will be labeled with a four-foot long pink mustache, give your driver a fist bump and chat with them along the way to your destination. It’s believed that the pink mustache is there to create a fun vibe and make the passenger feel safe.
It’s easier to get a Lyft ride than it is to call a cab in San Francisco, and it’s half the price. It may be the perfect place for such a service to start out. The city is underserved by cabs, it embraces technology and people are looking for ways to make extra money in an expensive region. However, the service is expanding to other cities.
Lyft has not entered the market without controversy. Cab drivers in San Francisco have been seen protesting outside of City Hall, citing ridesharing services for not insuring their drivers. But under CPUC regulations, rideshare service must carry at least one million dollars in insurance.
Ridesharing will continue to grow in urban regions where owning a car is less practical than in the suburbs. And although we are trying get away from driving, having two or three people in a vehicle that can carry five people is better than having only one.
Is ridesharing entering your community? If so, how is it being received by the public?
Credits: Data linked to sources. Images credit of Robert Poole.