New app offers a ‘Lyft’

Lyft’s cars are adorned with a signature pink mustache on their grill. (Courtesy of Paige Thelen)

Dallas has just welcomed a new car service into town: Lyft, an app-based ride-sharing system that allows users to schedule rides in their area through an app on their smartphone. The service comes to Dallas in the midst of a controversy over a similar app, Uber, which arrived in the city in August of 2012. These fast and convenient ride-sharing services compete with other taxi companies like Yellow Cab, and both Lyft and Uber have faced several legal battles while attempting to expand.

Lyft, like Uber, was founded in San Francisco, and California became the first state to legalize the ride sharing service under the umbrella of “transportation network companies.” Other cities are struggling to incorporate the companies into local legal structures. In many other states the companies were issued cease and desist papers, and faced many citations from officers in Dallas. In October, Mayor Mike Rawlings led an investigation to look into the legitimacy of a proposed city ordinance that was designed to ban the service.

While Uber uses licensed limousine drivers in town cars, Lyft picks its drivers from the community who use their own cars. Lyft representatives say they hope this will give the service a friendly feel.

“It’s an awesome social experience that people love and we’re super pumped to have launched in Dallas,” said Ryan Hupfer, member of the Lyft launch team in Dallas.

Drivers will appear in different cars, identifiable by a giant pink mustache at the front of the vehicle, and passengers are required to pay by tip. There is also a background check for each driver, and $1 million per occurrence in excess liability insurance. It remains to be seen how Lyft will fare in Dallas’ legal system, as well as whether costumers will prefer the service to the already established Uber app. For SMU students interested in trying Lyft, the company is offering first-time users $20 in credit on their first ride with code SMU20.

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