What Is Ride Sharing?
Ride Sharing services are a convenient way to get to appointments, avoid parking fees, and let someone else do the driving when you’re in an unfamiliar city or country. The most familiar ride share companies in the U.S. are Uber and Lyft. Uber was founded in 2009 and serves more than 785 areas worldwide. Relative newcomer Lyft joined the ride share scene in 2012 and provides more than 1 million rides per day. Outside the U.S, it is also a popular option for long distance travel.
The concept of modern ride sharing was born out of necessity and a desire to ease the impact of automobile traffic on the environment. An online resource about ride sharing services notes that the concept of ride sharing is by no means new, and was a common practice when gasoline was in short supply during World War 2 and the energy crises of the 1970s.
How Does Ride Sharing Work?
Call Uber? Not for a ride! Unlike a traditional taxi, ride sharing services require that you either download an app to your phone, or – for Uber only – request a ride from your desktop computer. You’ll enter a credit card and personal information for billing purposes, and that’s pretty much all there is to getting started. When you need a ride, you open the app on your phone, provide your current location and where you’d like to go, and a ride share driver nearby will come to pick you up. You’ll get a description of the vehicle, so you know when you ride has arrived, and you can watch their progress as they make their way toward you – right on your phone. Lyft even shows you how much the ride will cost before you commit.
Benefits of Using a Ride Share Service
Many city dwellers have downsized to one vehicle per family or given up car ownership altogether in favor of ride sharing. The benefits associated with using a ride sharing service versus driving alone are many:
- Save money. You’ll save on gasoline, car maintenance, and possibly insurance, especially if you decide to give up car ownership completely. Look for promo codes online and special offers to save on individual rides.
- Do your part for the planet. Ride sharing reduces the amount of hydrocarbon emissions released into the atmosphere and cuts down on pollution.
- Stress less. If you’re uncomfortable driving and parking in unfamiliar territory or while traveling, ride sharing services can help you get where you need to go without the hassle.
- Enjoy your night out of the town. Ride sharing services are gaining popularity as a safe, sober way to get home after dinner and drinks.
Be Careful Out There
Of course, there are some downsides to ride sharing, too. If you’re trying to get a ride after a big football game, concert, at rush hour, or outside a metropolitan area, you may have a very long wait. However, Lyft does offer customers the option of prescheduling your ride. You should always ask to be picked up and dropped off in areas where you feel safe. Finally, if something doesn’t feel right to you about the car or driver, don’t get in.
How to Become an Ride Share Driver
People of all ages become ride share drivers to supplement their income, stay active, and meet new people. Each service has its own specific rules, requirements, and sign up processes that you can find on their respective websites. Ride share drivers are considered independent contractors, so there are expenses like insurance and taxes to consider, too. Whether you choose to drive or just enjoy the independence that ride sharing offers, these services are here to stay and will continue to be more prevalent and available throughout the U.S. and all over the world.