Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 10, 2016

Need a Lyft? New Car Service Aims for Good Vibes

Living in the District means having a car isn’t exactly a necessity, until it is.

Uber swooped into Washington hoping to fill the void with its mobile app connecting the carless-but-connected with its uberTaxi, uberBlack and uberSUV services. The D.C. Taxicab Commission didn’t take kindly to Uber, although the Federal Trade Commission has warned the local commission that coming down hard on Uber and other Web-based car services could stifle innovation.

Against that backdrop, Lyft, a car-sharing service that started in San Francisco, has decided to drive on in.

Lyft, which held a “top-secret kick-off party” earlier this month at 1776-The Penthouse, promises to be “your friend with a car,” complete with its trademark pink fluffy mustache and encouraged driver-driven bonding. Why a pink mustache, you ask? There’s actually a good story behind it.

The pink mustache is a smile, its website says. Its goal is for you to be a little happier at the end of your ride than you were at the beginning.

“What really sets Lyft apart from other services is the community experience,” said Erin Simpson of Lyft. “Riders can sit up front with the drivers, choose the music and have really good conversation.

“We also go above and beyond in the matter of safety,” Simpson said. “Potential drivers are screened through criminal background checks, DMV records, followed by in-person interviews.”

Lyft also has a first-of-its-kind, $1 million per occurrence excess liability insurance policy. Once a ride is complete, passengers are prompted to pay through the app to the extent they’ve enjoyed the experience.

Riders also will  give feedback about drivers, so anyone who isn’t providing comfortable trips will get dumped from the system.

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  • chrisvandyk

    Be careful. The insurance policy may not cover you as a passenger, and what Lyfft is really doing is masquerading a ride-sharing experience as that of a ride in a licensed and regulated taxicab.
    Taxicab regulation began in London in 1647, and has been necessary in most major urban areas, for any number of reasons, ever since.
    Taxicabs and their regulatory structure may not be perfect, but one thing is certain — a fistbump from a phony cab operator and a piece of pink fluff will not ensure that you and the phony operator are insured, nor that your ride is even legal, should you find yourself bleeding to death in an accident, and in need of serious and real hospital care.
    Before you ride in a Lyfft vehicle, ask to see the insurance policy — and read carefully. Word on the street is, the million dollar policy insures Lyfft against your claim, not you, for the accident.

  • SF

    Here is a real example from San Francisco:
    Lawsuit over injury from airborne fire hydrant tests Uber’s insurance practices

  • Liberty: Minimized Coercion

    Since our intelligence and wisdom develop along with our culture, we should recognize that our minds will most fully develop within dynamic, vibrant, free, and prosperous cultures where centralized control is minimized.

  • Liberty: Minimized Coercion

    Liberty implies a private boundary inside which conditions cannot be controlled by other people and where choices cannot be restricted to those determined by others.

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