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Collaborative consumption meets on-demand ride shares

I had the pleasure of taking a ride using the new-to-Chicago app Lyft this afternoon.

Lyft is a peer-to-peer, on-demand, ride sharing service. What does that mean? A vetted driver (background checks, insurance, etc.) gets a notification from a Lyft user that needs a ride. The driver accepts the request (think Uber) and picks up the person in the location they have noted from the app. Two important aspects of this are 1) the giant pink mustache on the front of the Lyft cars and 2) the fist bump when you enter the care (front seat) and the fist bump when you exit.

My driver, Danielle, took about 6 minutes more than the app said–probably on account of the Loop traffic in the afternoon as people exit from work. Danielle was great, had a clean car, and was ready to get me to my destination! We fist bumped, and away we went, chit chatting about California (where Danielle had just moved from) and Chicago neighborhoods.


The famous pink mustache

Lyft operates on a donation system. When you reach your final destination, the app calculates a suggested donation based on a secret sauce formula. Drivers get 80% of the transaction, Lyft takes 20% off the top. My trip from the Loop to my Edgewater home (about 10 miles and 15 minutes) ended with a $15 suggested donation–about $5-8 less than an Uber cab. This amount popped up on the screen when Danielle ended the ride.

I think I’ll be using Lyft a lot more for these types of rides. It was safe, clean, comfortable, and a better value than Uber. I think Uber will still be the better app to use in some instances, but, as was the case last Friday, I couldn’t get an UBERx to pick me up at 7:30 PM, and the more options I have, the better.

Full disclosure, I’m interviewing to be a Lyft driver and will hopefully be getting my own pink mustache soon!

Lyft joins the ranks of some of my other favorite collaborative consumption apps, like Zipcar and Taskrabbit. This is still a growing space as urban core renewal continues, making these service more cost-efficient and necessary.

Lyft and its competitor services, like SideCar, are hugely disruptive technologies and shake the established taxi and car service companies. As evidence of this, New York City took action agains two SideCar drivers recently, which included seizing a driver’s property–her car!

This is just another instance of government interfering with the people’s right to organize and collectively solve problems. By accessing services like Lyft and SideCar, people are using the free market and their right to organize to force innovation in a space ripe for disruption.

Maybe the pink mustache could be the symbol of the Revolution?

1 Comment


May 14, 2013 6:05 pm Reply

Bad idea for you. You have too many other irons in the fire. Who checks these people out? As your mother I would be very concerned for your safety.

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