Early Tuesday morning, hundreds of disgruntled cabdrivers circled City Hall to protest the increasing use of rideshare services. The protesters claim the city’s cease and desist letter released on Monday is not enough.
While protesters say they are concerned for user safety, they did not cite any particular incidents of crime related to rideshare services. If not a hazard to users’ lives, these services propose a hazard to cabdrivers’ livelihood. A typical cab ride from San Francisco to Palo Alto will run around $100 including tip, according to Wired. Users of Sidecar will pay a suggested $64 fare.
Commuters looking for a cheap ride in LA are no longer sticking out their thumbs, but rather thumbing their Smartphones for inexpensive rideshare services.
These industries, such as Lyft, Sidecar, and Uber, operate on Smartphone applications and social media. Sidecar is like hitchhiking in the modern day with added precautions. It prescreens its drivers, who are merely volunteers looking to pick up extra cash. The drivers are alerted when a request comes their way and they may choose to accept it if it’s convenient. The user usually pays the driver a suggested fee, and the company keeps 20%. Despite the fact the fare is both voluntary and inexpensive, investors are flocking to the services like Sidecar and Lyft.
Users across the board are trending towards these applications in increasing numbers. These services are either cheaper, more reliable, or tailored the consumer’s particular desires. Some advocates claim these services will bring down carbon emissions. Other users prefer Uber’s slick town cars over L.A.’s electric green cabs. The services are popular because they are heavily based on ratings. Unlike the serendipitous hailing of a cab, both riders and drivers get to choose with whom they do business based on their particular interests be they economic or eco-friendly.