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Monday, January 28, 2013

San Francisco transportation eased with a giant pink moustache

Why yes, I would like to go for a ride with you

Any one familiar with San Francisco, or those of you just trying hail a cab in this wonderful city will know the frustrations and difficulty in securing this elusive of services. So, what do the fine folks of SF do? Why they reinvent the idea of the car pool/ride share and call it Lyft. They also give it a giant pink moustache of course.

According their site; Lyft is your friend with a car. Drivers are matched with passengers who request rides through the Lyft iPhone or Android app. A pink mustachioed car then appears with the driver greeting you with a friendly fist bump. Drivers are encouraged to let their personal style shine through which often translates to on board goodies such as freshly baked cookies, candies and even E-mergency's for those of you suffering with a cold. The drivers can also be wealth of knowledge re: where to go for dinner, drinks, or even what's hot in the local music scene.

Of course all of this is not sitting too comfortably with the local cabbies who claim services like Lyft (there are at least three other similar start ups) are cutting into their bottom line. Without a doubt this probably is true, but it's not necessarily a bad thing for the stagnant taxis. This is the wake up call the industry so desperately needs. It's not just the lack of cabs that is the problem, but when you are finally able find one the service you receive is far from stellar.
You talking to me?

Frequent complaints range from surly persona's, refusal to drive you to the Sunset or any out of the way location, unable or unwilling to accept credit cards and if they do the archaic swipe machine with the triplicate carbon forms makes an appearance, which would make any passenger uneasy.
You sir belong in a museum

Don't get me wrong, I do not despise the cabbies and the service they provide. They have it tough; schlepping your drunk asses all around town and no doubt dealing with their fair share of abuse along the way. I just believe the services like Lyft provide can cause a much needed shift in the way the industry operates. Lyft drivers are well vetted with background checks and DMV records just like the cabbies. However, unlike the regular cab passenger the potential Lyftee knows who you are before you even meet, as the name and photo of the driver are relayed to the app user. There is also a measure of accountability on behalf of the riders that use lyft. As no money ever passes hands during a "lyft" every potential user of the app has to submit their details including credit card information. In a sense meaning you are not an anonymous passenger. Which may just keep you in check after having one too many at Zeitgeist.

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