If you spend time in Baltimore City, you may start seeing cars with large bright pink mustaches hanging on the grilles. The distinctive pink mustache is a staple of a new San Francisco-based start up that aims to disrupt the personal transportation market. Lyft is a peer-to-peer ride sharing platform that allows mobile phone users who need a ride, to find a Lyft driver who is willing to give them, well, a lift. The drivers don’t charge a “fare” but rather, at the completion of the drive, the rider “donates” payment. Lyft bills itself as a “technology company” providing a service – the Lyft app – and believes that it is thus not subject to the same regulations as taxi and transportation companies. (Though there is a lawsuit pending in San Francisco)
The whole idea is to be a more community-driven (pun intended) and “fun” experience of sharing rides and meeting new people in your city – the opposite of a taxi ride, which is often cold, quiet, and impersonal. Lyft is already operating in Seattle, San Francisco, LA, San Diego, Chicago, Boston, DC. To be a Lyft driver, you, and your car, have to pass a series of background checks and interviews.