The sharing economy is expanding; tonight will mark the start of Lyft in St. Louis. Lyft, a ride sharing service, is not quite a taxi service and not quite carpooling. Maybe it is the taxi service of the future.
It is an app that you install on your phone. When you need a ride you tap the app, and you get a picture of the driver, their car, and their ratings before finalizing your ride. At the end of your ride, you make a suggested donation (normally less than a taxi ride) and rate your driver. The driver gets 80% of the fare. Drivers are background checked, DMV record checked, and must be over the age of 24. Also, Lyft carries a one million dollar per occurrence insurance policy.
Lyft started recruiting drivers in St. Louis last February, but the company stated at the time they were just exploring the possibility. Now it’s ready to launch. I love this. The background checks make me feel as safe or maybe safer than riding in a cab. I know if I needed a last minute lift home I would rather take out my phone and use an app to find a driver already in my area than find a cab company that I’ll have to wait around an hour for. I haven’t had great experiences with St. Louis cabs the few times I have used them.
Before you go out tonight, download the app. Then if you find yourself in need of a ride home (no, it is not OK if the designated driver has only 5 drinks) get on your phone and tap for a Lyft and wait for the car with the pink mustache.
Would you use Lyft?