Need a Lyft?
My car is out of commission due to hail damage from a recent storm. As a result, I’m walking around this expansive metropolitan area.
Luckily, Lyft is in town.
Lyft is a San Francisco-based taxi-ish service except the drivers work for themselves and use the mobile app to connect with clients.
You might recognize the eye-catching pink mustache that adorns the grill of most cars that are providing the service.
I was a little weary of what to make of the service. It seems like AirBnB for transportation. I decided to test it out. I downloaded the application for my phone, created a simple and easy profile, and turned on my GPS.
One of the coolest things about lyft is that as a new service, they are covering my first 50 rides (up to $25) for two weeks! This is a spectacular deal. Check it out, for real!
Then I tapped ‘Request Lyft’ and it sent a signal to a nearby driver. Before tapping the button, the app gives you a head’s up on whether there are any drivers currently available, and if so, their approximate distance to your location.
Right after requesting a Lyft, the app has a map that shows where the driver is in relation to your location as well as an estimated time of arrival. At the bottom of the screen, there is a picture of the driver and the driver’s car so you can recognize the person when they arrive. I saw it would take 6 minutes for my driver to arrive, so I cleaned up my dinner leftovers and got my belongings in order for the little adventure.
Soon enough, a text message was sent to my phone notifying me that the driver had arrived. My Lyft came in a 2009 silver Mazda, and the driver was really cool and friendly. His name is Habir, so if you are taking a Lyft in Omaha and you meet him, you’re in good hands!
Habir picked me up and when I explained that it was my first time using the service, he offered to give me helpful ideas and tips for using it. He said that there are a lot of drivers and passengers at the moment, most likely because the College World Series is happening and Omaha is replete with visitors. Because of this Lyft will become more pricy during certain times of day called “Prime Time.” The app shows a little message on the screen when it’s Prime Time and overall adds a 70% tip for the driver due to the higher demand for the service.
While riding in the car, I plugged in my destination address into the app and Habir navigated to the destination. My ride was 2.1 miles long and took about 8 minutes. The total price was $8 and the app allowed me to add a tip. Since the first 50 rides are on the house, it was free for me. I’m not certain whether the tip I added would be covered by the credit from lyft or not.
Areas of Concern for the Lyft Service
All in all, I had a great experience, but I had some reservations at first because i wasn’t sure if the service was safe and I had no idea what the prices would be like.
Overall, the price is a bit more expensive than a taxi. The other night, I rode from Wal-Mart on 72nd and Pine Street over to the Walgreens on 50th and Center Street and then to my apartment for $13. If you are fine with paying a little higher, then you shouldn’t have a problem with lyft. Plus, there seem to be plenty of online coupons to get free credit and you can also share the service with friends to rack up more free service!
I noticed that in the app, it seemed like Anyone can sign up to be a driver. This had me a bit worried, but as I researched into it, I found that there are some checks to make sure the drivers will be safe.
BACKGROUND & DMV CHECKS
Every driver is screened for criminal offenses and driving incidents. The criminal background check includes national and county-level databases, as well as national sex offender registries.
DRIVING RECORD CHECK
- Aged 21 or older, with an active U.S. driver’s license for 1+ years
- Valid personal auto insurance that meets or exceeds state requirements
- No more than two moving violations in the past three years (e.g. accidents, traffic light violations)
- No major violations in the past three years (e.g. driving on a suspended license, speeding 21+ mph over the limit)
- No DUIs or other drug-related driving violations
- No more than one severe infraction on your lifetime driving history
- No extreme infractions on your lifetime driving history (e.g. hit-and-run, felonies involving a vehicle)
- No violent crimes
- No sexual offenses
- No theft
- No property damage
- No felonies
- No drug related offenses
Cars must be model year 2000 or newer, and pass a 19-point vehicle inspection before hitting the road. We conduct all vehicle safety screenings in-person, so we can examine everything from tail lights to tire tread.
- Excess Liability: $1,000,000 limit that covers driver liability for any bodily injury or property damage of the passengers or third parties
- Contingent Comprehensive & Collision: $2,500 deductible and $50,000 maximum applicable to drivers who purchase collision & comprehensive coverage on their personal policy
- Excess Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist: $1,000,000 limit covering bodily injury of drivers and/or passengers and/or third parties for damages caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist who is at fault (applies from the time a driver accepts a ride request until the time the ride is ended in the app)
- Contingent Liability: up to $50,000 per person /$100,000 per accident /$25,000 physical damage, covering driver liability for bodily injury and/or property damage of passengers and/or third parties (applies from the time when a driver flips into driver mode until the driver accepts a ride request)
You’ve got the power. Passengers and drivers rate each other after every ride. If you rate someone 3 stars or below, you’ll never be matched with them again. If a driver’s average falls below 4.5 out of 5 stars, they’re no longer able to drive on the Lyft platform. It’s our way of keeping our community’s high-quality standards.
So overall, I’m really excited by the presence of Lyft in Omaha and will be using it thoroughly in the next week while my car is out of commission! Leave a comment below and feel free to ask any questions. Try lyft yourself, today!