Hitching a new pink ride

With names like Flywheel, Taxi Mojo and Uber Taxi, it’s no wonder change is on the horizon for ride-sharing. One particular company is so effective at what it does, not only is it taking the United States by storm, it is fist-pumping customers while donning a pink mustache!

Mystified by the number of cars I have recently witnessed in Los Angeles wearing an oversized, flamingo-pink fluffy mustache on the front of the vehicle’s grill, I was intrigued to get to the bottom of what the eye-catching ornament signified. 

Say hello to the innovator of a new method of commuting and/or ride-sharing; “Lyft,” an offshoot of the college-campus-based Zimride you may have already heard about, which allows you to order a car ride from one point to another on demand.

Lyft’s infrastructure is changing the ride-sharing landscape, as its drivers commute in a regular car with regular owners who (gasp) want to meet and help their new friends while enjoying the feeling of “community.” To make the rides feel extra social, passengers are greeted by the driver with a fist bump as they climb into the front seat and inevitably chat it up with the driver just as though he or she was their new best friend!

Although this week’s trend alert is a delicate topic for many dead against it, I must report it is changing the way many commute in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago and other cities. While I didn’t find this to be much of a surprise, taxi drivers are livid and calling foul as they observe these mustached vehicles taking their business away. On the flip side, the claim is it was only a matter of time because the service has actually transcended into being a rescue aide for those who aren’t able to find a cab. There is also conversation about the embarrassment of having pink-mustached cars working the urban streets.

Of course safety concerns are at the front of many minds, and Lyft feels it has the bases covered, claiming its safety measures have gone above and beyond what any black car, taxi or carpool service has done. There is also the fact that criminal background and DMV record checks are conducted on all community drivers along with in-person screening, vehicle inspections and a zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy.

Regarding the drivers: They must be 23 years old, own an iPhone or Android, pass a phone screening, conduct an in-person meeting, have a 2000 or newer car in good working condition for the expectation of “up to” US$35 an hour in wages. Also note 80% of the total ride donation received from passengers is deposited into the driver’s account on a weekly basis, and, of course, schedules are created by the drivers.

On the other hand, passengers must sign up using Facebook and provide valid credit-card information for identity purposes. At the end of the commute, which average US$10 per ride, the drivers rate the passengers, so co-drivers are able to see their rating before accepting a pickup.

These “car-stache” facts are creating buzz for many reasons, so I am anxious to hear what your thoughts are on the future of ride-sharing such as the service provided by Lyft. Have you witnessed or used a pink-mustached car ride? If so, please share the outcome of your experience. If not, the question I have is relatively simple: Would you? I look forward to your responses!