Image by: Adam63
By: Giovanni Fields
Want to be a taxi driver but you just absolutely disdain the color yellow? Well that’s no problem at all because with ride-sharing apps like SideCar, Lyft and Uber you can even convert that daily driver of yours into a money mobile. The way it works is similar to the concept of what we know of as hitchhiking, except the passenger has the option of tipping the driver via app. Although the service has been growing in popularity, lots of cities, such as New York and Philadelphia, are cracking down on it, deeming it to be “unsafe.”
Although I do understand their argument as to how something like this can be considered unsafe, I also believe that we civilians have the option do decide ourselves whether we want to take the risk or not. It can’t be too much more dangerous than a traditional taxi ride. I believe the true quarrel lies in the fact that the already struggling taxi industry is having even more of their customers taken away–but that’s another topic for another day…
If you’re willing to take the risk of inadvertently offering a ride to an “anti lyft” enforcer or giving a ride to the next Jeffrey Dahlmer, then molding your car into a cash shuttle and ride-sharing may be quite lucrative for you. So if you’ve got a little extra time and room in your car, stay tuned for a few facts about this underground ride-sharing industry.
SideCar, despite what disputes taxi regulators may have against them, continues to run full speed ahead, spreading across the U.S. with rapid intensity. This company currently operates in San Fransisco, Sustin, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Washington, DC, and Brooklyn. The car shuttle service has at least been implicitly approved by regulators in a handful of those jurisdictions, including its birth place of it, San Fransisco.
Before you question whether or not this is a legit business though, keep in mind that the drivers are screened for a valid driver’s license, insurance, and a working car. On top of that they also run background checks, organize interviews, and uses GPS navigation systems to track trips. The credibility factor is also implemented, allowing the passengers to rate the drivers after each ride–the company investigating any driver with low scores. So before you question whether or not you want to consider this as a side job, I’d suggest you polish your people skills. Wouldn’t want to be “investigated.”
Lyft’s convenience lies in it’s simplicity. The way this app works is passengers tap a big green button to request a pickup, and they’ll be matched with a friendly (hopefully), background-checked driver from the community within a minute or so if they’re lucky. After that the passenger would be able to track the driver’s route and ETA in the app. And in case someone is picky about their driver, they’ll be able to see a photo of the driver and their car, so they’ll know who their riding with and what their riding in.
After the passenger is picked up, the rest is improvised: small talk, stereotypical dentally fortified laughter that you see in all the advertisements of companies like these, and the rest is history. When the ride ends, the app securely charges the payment from the passengers saved credit card, so in case you’re planning on testing the service and worrying about your driver robbing you, there’s no need to carry cash. And if your experience was sensational then go ahead and issue a five star rating.
Uber has turned into a juggernaut of an app, being available in 44 countries on six continents. That’s everywhere except Antarctica! I’m pretty sure they’d have the app as well, if penguins and polar bears drove, that is. And not only is it available virtually everywhere, but since the company hired David Plouffe, Barack Obama’s former campaign manager, the startup is looking to expand its reach even further.
Like Lyft, Uber is a painfully simple process, similar to the steps mentioned above–passengers can be on their way from point A to B in a matter of seconds. And the best part is signing up to drive is easy as well, just go on the website and register your info in the spaces provided. Know your way around the city? Make money helping your community of riders travel safely and easily. Pick them up, get going, get paid. It’s that simple.
Have any experience escorting the general public from point A to B? Pleasant experiences, unpleasant experience, we want to hear them all! Your story might help decide whether or not someone else wants to turn their car into a cabby.