New ride-sharing alternatives: Uber, Lyft revolutionize transportation
In the metropolitan city of Miami, it is nearly impossible to get from one place to another without hitting traffic, so it’s not surprising that most people are looking for an easier means of transportation. Nowadays, businesses have recognized this demand and have begun answering the call. Two of these prolific enterprises are Uber and Lyft.
Uber and Lyft are taxi substitutes that boast their, “time, value, and convenience.” But what do they really offer? One driver, Kenia Camacho, explained that safety- one of the largest obstacles facing these up-and-coming services- is Lyft’s top priority, for the riders as well as the drivers. That’s why Lyft uses a complex rating system that allows every rider to choose, on a scale from one to five, how pleasant, efficient, and effective their driver was. That being said, drivers aren’t the only ones facing scrutiny. They are provided with the exact same scale and rating system for the riders; that way, should the same rider request a Lyft, they will either be paired again or they will avoid each other. If a driver were to drop below a rating of 4.5, then they will go on probation, and if they cannot raise their rating, they are ultimately removed from their position.
While these guidelines may seem overly strict at first glance, they are understandable considering how lax the application process is. A part-time driver for Uber admitted that, “all I had to do was submit an application, then after a week or two I get a call telling me that I’ve been hired.” This informal and hasty hiring process has resulted in thousands of part-time jobs throughout major cities such as: Miami, New York, and San Diego. Unfortunately, this rapid growth has drawn a large amount of negative attention. In late January, the California Department of Motor Vehicles argued that Uber, Lyft, and any other ride-sharing companies, must obtain commercial license plates for all of their vehicles. Naturally, this would cripple the businesses’ recruiting process and slash the amount of available drivers significantly. Luckily for them, however, the D-M-V ultimately decided to retract their statement and make no new requirements. But this scare made it that much more clear how fragile the ride-sharing industry truly is.
It is because of the industry’s fragility that Uber and Lyft are desperate to increase their revenue- to assure that they will survive any legal attacks. The only way to do so, however, is to differentiate themselves and compete against one another. This begs the question: which service is better? As with many other products and services, that entirely depends on your perspective and preference. After speaking with regular riders from both services, as well as riding with both, myself, it would appear that Uber is differentiating itself by catering to the more “professional audience,” like businessmen, travelers, etc. while Lyft focuses more on the casual setting like clubs, parties, and day-to-day travels.
Regardless of which service appeals to more people, it is clear that the ride-sharing industry will continue to evolve, and as time goes on, it will only become more and more difficult to stop it.
Sebastian Planas and Gabriel Gonzalez assisted in the production of this video