I know I posted a couple weeks ago about these companies who use smartphones and all electronic payments as an alternative to traditional taxis.
Last week Lyft launched in Charlotte and apparently so did Uber and now I see Sidecar hiring as well so I assume they are launching soon.
This is great news for anyone looking for something different and anyone who likes using technology instead of a phone (I personally hate calling if I can do it all online).
“These are normal people with personal insurance which may not cover anything if there is an accident.” / Yes. The companies do claim to have $1 million per occurrence liability insurance. My insurance card was expiring a few weeks after I sent it and Lyft would not process me until I sent them my new card. They do make sure all drivers have insurance and I’m sure Uber and Sidecar are just as thorough. Also, with Lyft and Sidecar passengers and drivers rate each other and those with low rating are removed from the program.
“I am getting into a car with a complete stranger” / I fail to see how that differs from a normal taxi. I have never known the driver before entering the cab. In cities like NYC there is a plastic wall between driver and passenger, but in the other cities I have taken cabs in I don’t recall any divider between driver and passenger. Same applies for shuttle service.
“This will put cabs out of business.” / That implies that they do not currently fill a need. There will always be a need for yellow cabs. In Charlotte Lyft cannot currently do airport pickups because it is outside of the coverage area. With plenty of cabs waiting at Arrivals and control of who can pick up at the airport this will always a cash cow for cabs. I don’t think any of these services can be hailed at the street. They must be arranged through the app since that is how it runs the meter and knows who is in the cab.
Lyft is more than going from point A to point B. It is an experience, an opportunity to meet a new person. This country is a quasi-capitalist country and if someone can produce a better product at a cheaper or similar price the old system needs to adapt. Look at Blockbuster video when Netflix and Redbox gained momentum. Adapt or perish.
Over the weekend I gave lyfts to many interesting people. I also gained over 20 new friends from the online community for Charlotte Lyft drivers. They are awesome people and I wouldn’t mind any of them giving me a ride.
Time will tell which of the services will last. Will it be Uber with its black sedan service? Lyft with its snazzy pink mustaches? Or Sidecar with what sounds like a more sophisticated app than Lyft?
Want to give Lyft a try? If you have not used Lyft before I have a code for $10 of Lyft credit. 6V3P22 it is good anywhere Lyft is available, not just Charlotte. Since my previous post Lyft was also launched in Phoenix, Indianapolis, and Atlanta and it looks like Uber and Sidecar have launched in some of those cities as well.
To redeem your Lyft credit: