|By Davidoff, Judith|
Taxi industry wants Lyft and
Local educator and entrepreneur
She speaks of "forward momentum advocates" and an "ecosystem of innovation." And it is in this context of change that she welcomes the recent arrival to
"It is innovating transportation beyond bus service and cabs," she says. "This is a new layer."
Both services offer customers an app that can be downloaded to a smart phone and used to order à ride.
McWalter says app-based ride services are to cabs what social network sites are to email.
"You had email, but now you have
McWalter says cities would ideally allow upstarts such as Lyft and
The laws McWalter refers to are city regulations that govern taxicab companies and drivers. City officials maintain Lyft and
In recent days,
"It's contingent upon those organizations to explain to us why they differ from cab companies and would not have to be subject to those same regulations," says Schmidt, who has been on the transit commission for five years.
"Just because it's a new idea doesn't mean it's a good idea," he adds. "Just because it's innovative doesn't mean it's fully cooked."
More, better, faster
Lyft and Über are both based in
In some cities über drivers pick up customers in black town cars, but in
Über charges a base fare, plus time and distance. Customers set up an account and the fare is automatically charged to a credit card they've provided to Über.
Lyft fares are calculated on time and distance. At the end of the ride, passengers can increase or decrease the suggested "donation," says Thelen.
Both companies, which have offered two weeks of free service in
"It tells us there is a demand for more, better, faster transportation services," she says.
But cab companies and drivers say it is unfair for these companies to operate outside the regulatory structure. Taxicab companies in