Ride sharing companies come to Sacramento to give customers a lift


Courtesy Photo

LYFT’s vehicles are marked by their distinctive pink mustaches on the hood. LYFT offers the ability to call for rides through an app as well as the ability for students and others to become employed as drivers.

Heather Kemp, Staff Writer

The days of having to stand on a sidewalk to hail a cab are over, as application based ride sharing companies LYFT and Uber both launched in the Sacramento area in 2013.

Although they have offered this service to customers since their respective starts in San Francisco, the concept of ride sharing and having an app based car service is new to Sacramento.

Both companies are accessible from an app, which you can download for free to any smartphone or tablet.

When a user needs a ride they  simply open the Uber or LYFT app, indicate where and when they would need to be picked up, as well as their destination.

After the destination is reached, payment is just as easy as using the app once more.

Ride sharing is similar to carpooling in many respects, the main difference with LYFT and Uber is instead of carpooling with a friend you are riding with a qualified driver for a fee.

“I see two immediate possible benefits. One would be a reduction in cars on the road,” said Geography Professor Debra Sharkey. “Which in theory means less people could own cars which reduces the resources we take out of the ground to build those cars and the fossil fuel that it takes to build them.”

Sharkey said there were other ways ride sharing is good from an environmental standpoint.

“Secondarily would be a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from less vehicles on the road,” Sharkey said.

LYFT and Uber have many potential benefits for students, including the convenience of getting a ride with just a click and having a lower price point than traditional taxis.

Uber rides cost 10 percent less than a normal taxi, according to their blog. LYFT can cost 20 percent less, according to an investigation done by Arizona TV station ABC 15.

“I would use it, because it’s cheaper and it’s convenient, wherever you are they can come and pick you up,” said Raheela Zareen, 25, an accounting major.

A cheap price is not the only opportunity afforded through ride sharing. Employment through the companies is a possibility for cash strapped college students.

Anyone over 23 years old with a clean driving record and a four-door car has the potential to earn up to $35 an hour, according to LYFT’s website.

“Students could benefit from the convenience and freedom of creating their own work schedule,” said Economics Professor Amy Leung. “Using their own car, and earning an hourly wage that is well above what many college students earn at their part-time jobs.”