Let's not get confused. Lyft is about the same kind of service as Sidecar. The two services both cater to the iOS and Android communities. Both services deal with transportation and propose to do so at a fraction of the average cost. This begs the question, what does Lyft do that Sidecar does not?
Let's start off with Lyft's site. It's minimal. I mean, very minimal. There's a link for the iOS app (Android app is rumored to be available on the 29th) and a link to sign up as a driver. For those not familiar with social ride sharing, it's a service that attempts to duplicate a taxi, but also streamline traffic and conserve natural resources (including time) so that all parties involved get to their destination. Less people driving alone equals less traffic equals less consumption of petrol products.
The cost involved is also minimal (it's donation based!), when compared to the enormous fees of most taxis and limo services. It's more convenient than public transportation, if you need to be somewhere ASAP. You jump on your app, look through the directory of nearest drivers and endpoint destination, and hail them as a rider. Where minimalism doesn't occur (I'm quoting Lyft here) is the extensive background checks to have just any Joe or Jill drive you around town to your dropoff spot. The inherent danger in taking someone's private vehicle should not have to be mentioned.
Enter Sidecar. Sidecar does the same things, connecting ordinary citizens with each other, mostly during commuting hours, for a cheap price. I'm still confused. Where in the fine print is Lyft different?
Lyft, as far as I can tell, is not different at all. In fact, it's the same service with a different name. But does it matter? I would say it does not, simply because more of these services should exist to get people more connected face-to-face and support “green lifestyles”. The obvious effects on the planet and how we design smarter cities will be impacted by these kinds of services in the near future. Lyft vs. Sidecar doesn't matter. Try them out, see how they operate, and then let us know. Either way it is a win for both drivers and passengers.
Is either service available in your city and if so, what is your opinion on social ride sharing as a transportation alternative? Is it viable to do this in every city or just large urban areas? Shout at us in the comments below!