Lyft is a relatively new startup that wants to provide people without cars with a quick ride. This company is not like Uber or other taxi-app services, since the rides do not come from taxi driver, but, rather, from regular individuals with the means to give people a “lift.” It’s kind of like virtual hitchhiking, and here’s how it works.
The Safety Factor
Most people no longer pick up hitchhikers because it’s just not safe. So, what is Lyft doing to prevent serial killers or really scary people from providing lifts to others? The company does a thorough background check on any driver wanting to become part of the Lyft system. Lyft also makes sure that drivers don’t have any kind of driving record (more than two moving violations in the past two years), or other kind of record. The company also has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to drugs or alcohol use, and all vehicles have to pass the Lyft inspection.
On the side of the driver, Lyft has created a unique insurance plan that completely protects drivers from any crazy or car-damaging passengers – extensive details can be found on the Lyft website. Plus, both driver and passengers can rate each other, so it’s within everyone’s best interest to behave while giving or taking a ride.
Lyft’s app works simply enough. You download the app, tap the green button signaling that you need to be picked-up, track the driver’s course via map, and wait for the driver to arrive. Once the driver appears, Lyft wants you get into the passenger seat and “give the driver a fist-bump,” or you can just climb into the car, either way. Once the ride has ended, you pay for the ride (no, it’s not free) through the Lyft app – no money is exchanged, so that risk factor has been removed.
Drivers are paid $35 per hour to pick people up, so that’s not a bad deal if you have a car and some spare time. To register to become a Lyft driver, just fill out the form on the Lyft website. All of this might sound good to some people that don’t want to call a taxi, but Lyft is facing some trouble from New York City officials today.
New York Wants More
According to New York law, all Lyft drivers must be registered with the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission. This might pose a problem for some drivers, since becoming registered driver within the city of New York might be expensive. Lyft will launch in New York City this week, but the service won’t be available throughout the entire state. In fact, Lyft tried to get around New York driver laws by secretly launching in the city earlier in the month, but regulators heard about the launch and shut the service down before anyone could give or get a ride. Now, Lyft is playing by the rules.
The company has told press that it will continue to work with lawmakers to make the service a true peer-to-peer startup, which was the original intent. If you do live in New York City, you can test out this app this week.