The internet has always brought people together – but it’s bringing people together in totally new ways by taking new connections between strangers off-line. People are on the move and user-based programs are helping them get where they want to be. Like so many things with the internet, there are some huge advantages to these new services, and perhaps a few disadvantages as well.
You may have seen names like Über or Lyft in the headlines recently. This isn’t because the services have done anything wild or crazy, but because they seem to make so much sense. The way these car services work varies slightly by company, but the premise is the same.
If you need a ride, rather than pay the high prices the taxi and van companies charge, why not pay less for a ride from someone going the same direction you are? This is like digital carpooling or freelance chauffeurs.
There are differences, of course, BlaBlaCar operates in Europe for long-distance travel between cities. Users can rate themselves on how chatty they are the car as well to be sure you get a good match. Are you Bla? Or perhaps BlaBlaBla? BlaBlaCar doesn’t allow drivers to profit either – just charge riders for gas and tolls.
Uber and Lyft are the more common names in online ride sharing. Über is more professional with its car services and charges a bit more than Lyft, which is more laid back. Über more closely resembles the traditional taxi service with a formal driver and quiet ride while Lyft can be chatty and more casual as a form of transportation.
Make a request online and someone will swing by to pick you up, take you where you’re going and charge you what usually amounts to a price notably less than you’d pay for a cab driver to do the same thing.