People in some of the county’s largest markets have a new way to get around, and I predict that it won’t be too long before the Inland Empire will have it, too.
Simply put, drivers use their own cars to transport riders to their destinations, and they use an app on their smartphones to find each other.
How Ridesharing Works
Riders download an app from the iTunes store or Google Play Store and set up an account. Information such as name, email and credit card information is given. Entering the credit card info is necessary because no cash changes hands between the rider and the driver. Even tips are paid through the apps.
Once the rider has set up his account and wants a ride, all he needs to do is tap the “Request a ride” button. Then the nearest driver is notified of the rider’s location via the driver’s app on her smartphone, and either accepts or rejects the request. Since drivers are evaluated on their rates of acceptance, the request is almost always accepted, and within minutes the driver appears at the requested location.
After the rider is in the car and has told the driver where he would like to go, the driver lets her app know that the ride has started, and away they go. Navigation is usually done using Google Maps, Waze or other GPS system.
Upon arrival at the destination the driver ends the ride on her app, and the charges appear on the rider’s app. The rider then has the opportunity to tip the driver and approve the charges.
In addition, riders have the opportunity to rate their drivers, and drivers rate riders. This helps keep the quality of experience high for both rider and driver.
Is Ridesharing Safe?
Who Is Behind the Wheel?
To allay any fears about the reliability of the drivers, it is important to know that drivers are vetted in at least three ways:
1) DMV records are checked for moving violations, current driver license and current registration on the car.
2) Criminal background checks are run.
3) Cars are checked to be sure they are clean and safe.
Who Is In the Passenger Seat?
To similarly allay any concerns in the minds of drivers about reliability of the riders, the app set up process requires that accurate personal information is given. However, at no time does the driver have access to riders’ personal information other than their name. All personal information is kept by the rideshare company.
A Designated Driver App
Ride sharing is becoming very popular for responsible folks who don’t want to be concerned with driving after enjoying a night on the town. There’s no fear of a DUI if you’re not behind the wheel. And ridesharing drivers tend to be readily available around the most popular watering holes, so waits are usually short.
As might be expected, each service offers a different experience.
Lyft cars sport pink mustaches on their grills, and drivers greet riders with a friendly fist bump when they get in the car. Lyft drivers are generally fun and genial people who invite riders to sit in the front seat, have a cold bottle of water or charge their phone while they ride. Often times, they’ll offer to play whatever music the rider requests. Lyft emphasizes the “community” aspect, and wants riders to feel like they’re riding with friends.
Cars must have four doors, be ten years old or newer, and as previously stated must have current registration.
Lyft Discount Code
First time Lyft riders can get their first ride for free (up to $25) when they enter referral code STEVE1293 before requesting a ride. Click HERE for easy access. (This is an affiliate code, and the author will receive compensation when the code is redeemed.)
For a decidedly uncommon Lyft ride, here’s a bit from the Conan O’Brien show:
Uber positions itself more on the formal side. Drivers typically open doors for riders, who sit in the back seat.
Requirements for UberX cars are similar to Lyft’s, except cars must be 2006 or newer.
Uber Discount Code
First time Uber riders can get their first ride free (up to $20) when they enter referral code xtb2b7 before requesting their first ride. Click HERE for easy access.
Sidecar tends to be friendly, like Lyft, but without the pink mustache.
Cars can be older, with model year 2000 and newer.
Less Expensive Than Taxis
In most cases, ridesharing is roughly 20% cheaper than calling a cab. In some markets, however, both Lyft and UberX increase fares during times of peak demands. The reasoning for this is that they want to ensure that there are enough drivers on the road to meet demands, and since drivers work on their own schedules, extra monetary incentive helps to achieve that goal.
Ride Sharing In Southern California
As of this writing, Lyft and Uber are in areas of Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego. Sidecar is only in Los Angeles.