When you need a Lyft
Basically the two car services are sort of grass roots taxi services. You download the apps and when you need a ride you procure it through your cell phone and you can also be a driver with car service yourself if you want, using your own vehicle, you would drive people around when you are available, responding to a request via the app. Uberx has a presence in 128 cities in 37 countries. Lyft cars have a big bushy pink mustache like seen here.
I thought this would be a good idea for my next ride to the airport, I downloaded both apps. I usually call a cab, not wanting to bother anyone I know for a ride. And also, the other day I had my car in for service and I was thinking how convenient a trolley would be (I'm still working on that), but one of these local car services would have been perfect, too. But it looks like I'll have to wait to see what happens now, as the county is running a sting operation on the Lyft and Uberx car services. Undercover cops are making reservations, then taking the rides and then arresting the drivers and fining them -- up to $2000. And there are impound fees of $1000 or so, too.
I'm not sure how I feel about it as the drivers don't have a chauffeur's license or any other licenses needed by cab drivers, but to be honest, the cabs may have the proper licenses, but the rides are nothing special. In just the last year I have had a cab driver get lost taking me to Coconut Grove from the airport, I got into one cab that smelled so bad that I made him stop before we left the airport so I could get out and get into another cab and I've had one break down on the expressway. All, ironically taking me from the airport to home. I don't usually have a problem going from home to the airport, but in 9 out of 10 cases, the cab driver is on his cell phone the whole time, luckily not texting, but still, talking and they aren't handless calls.
It's amazing how we put our trust in a total stranger to get us places safely.
I am assuming the Lyft and Uberx drivers are more careful, more courteous and since it's their own cars, they probably don't smell and neither does the car and I'm sure they aren't on the phone the whole time while driving you around.
The car services have the drivers covered with all sorts of insurance for car accidents with liability up to $1 million. They cover all major car insurance and uncovered drivers, too, meaning the other guy, not the rider-service people. The drivers are totally checked out for drivers license, past violations, tickets, safety records, even for crimes or anything in their background which may not be desirable, including drug use.
But county regulators are against this service, which by the way, is all run through the app, no money changes hands, much easier than the current yellow cabs in the county which don't even take credit cards. (The cabs in NYC do, a real pleasure when you're out of town and want to conserve cash). Many think the Miami-Dade County regulators are being swayed by the taxi lobby, who don't want competition. Yet they don't do anything to improve their product.
Fred Grimm goes on to quote crime statistics from robberies to rapes in the county and feels that the car services are not a crime and that the police should be going after "real crimes." Fred's whole column may be seen here.
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