October 08 2013

Your New Ride Comes With a Pink Mustache: Ridesharing Legalized in California

Welcome to the future of transportation. Download an app, tap the screen on your iPhone or Android device to locate yourself on the map and hit “Request.” It’s easy, it’s fun and now, it’s legal.

Lyft is part of a growing community of rideshare services in the state of California. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recently formally recognized this industry under the category of “Transportation Network Companies,” which includes other services such as Sidecar, Uber and InstantCab. Anyone can become a Lyft driver, as long as they go through the necessary application process. It’s a reflection of the ever-growing sharing economy that is teaching us to make our resources more accessible to a larger population.

Lyft ride car with a pink mustache, California

From the passenger perspective, the experience is friendly and social. Hop into the passenger seat of the car, which will be labeled with a four-foot long pink mustache, give your driver a fist bump and chat with them along the way to your destination. It’s believed that the pink mustache is there to create a fun vibe and make the passenger feel safe.

It’s easier to get a Lyft ride than it is to call a cab in San Francisco, and it’s half the price. It may be the perfect place for such a service to start out. The city is underserved by cabs, it embraces technology and people are looking for ways to make extra money in an expensive region. However, the service is expanding to other cities.

Lyft has not entered the market without controversy. Cab drivers in San Francisco have been seen protesting outside of City Hall, citing ridesharing services for not insuring their drivers. But under CPUC regulations, rideshare service must carry at least one million dollars in insurance.

Cabs on the road, San Francisco

Ridesharing will continue to grow in urban regions where owning a car is less practical than in the suburbs. And although we are trying get away from driving, having two or three people in a vehicle that can carry five people is better than having only one.

Is ridesharing entering your community? If so, how is it being received by the public?

Credits: Data linked to sources. Images credit of Robert Poole.

Robert Poole

Robert Poole recently graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Anthropology and a minor in City and Regional Planning. He grew up in San Diego but now resides in San Francisco. He is intrigued by, yet concerned with the large discrepancies in socio-economic development within the Bay Area. He currently works at a non-profit organization in San Francisco that advocates for new housing development in the City through policy and legislation. As he continues his work, he hopes to gain a more in-depth understanding of the city’s public process in order to develop solutions that create more affordable housing options for the City's low to middle-income residents.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 8th, 2013 at 9:19 am and is filed under Government/Politics, Robert Poole, Transportation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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