Expeeriences
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Expeeriences

Should You Start Ridesharing?

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Services like Uber, Lyft, and BlaBlaCar have been popping up in cities and towns all over the world in the last decade. Many people are moving away from owning their own cars, and moving towards money saving solutions like ridesharing. Should you start ridesharing, too?

For those of you who have been living under a rock, ridesharing is a simple concept. Rather than calling a taxi company, and taking the risk of being overcharged, simply download a handy application and track your driver in real-time. This is personally my favorite part of these services; there’s something so satisfying watching the little car icon move closer and closer to where you’re waiting.

BlaBlaCar is a bit different than Uber and Lyft, as their services are for longer drives, such as a voyage from Paris to Nice. The company originated in France and is now available in many different European cities. A comparable option in the United States is a fairly new service called Rdvouz.

The upsides

There is much to be said in regards to the upsides of using ridesharing services.

First of all, owning your own car is expensive. There are your standard repairs, or not so standard ones like transmission failure. Insurance coverage tends to be pricey, especially if you are young or have a history of car accidents and tickets. That’s not to mention the price of gas and parking. It can sometimes seem like owning a car is like being stuck in a black hole of spending money. Ditch your car and watch your wallet fill up!

Ridesharing can also take drunk driving out of the picture, making the road safer for yourself and other drivers if you like enjoying a few drinks from time to time.

The services tend to be fairly inexpensive as well, especially if you take advantage of the “ pool, “ or sharing option. If you opt to pool, you’ll be sharing your car with others that are taking the same route as you. Nearly all ridesharing services offer this solution, and it can be a great way to meet people too. You know that neighbor a few doors down that you’ve never spoken to before? Sharing an Uber or a Lyft could be the start of a beautiful friendship!

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, ridesharing is good for the environment. This is especially true with the pool service! The reasons are obvious: the fewer cars there are on the road, the less congestion, pollution, and fuel consumption there is. Lyft, in particular, is dedicated to reducing its carbon footprint. In 2018, the company purchased millions of dollars worth of carbon offsets, which help to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases.

Beneficial for your wallets and the planet? What could be the drawbacks of using ridesharing?

The downsides

For me, the downsides of ridesharing are small, but they do deserve to be mentioned.

First and foremost, you’ll need a smartphone in order to use these services. It may seem like everyone, their mom, and even their grandma is using smartphones these days. But, there are indeed people that have preferred to stick it out with their Motorola Razrs. Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft can only be used with their applications. Alternatively, BlaBlaCar and Rdvouz can be booked using a computer.

If you’re one of those people that enjoys having a few drinks when you go out, you’ll remember that I mentioned ridesharing can help to eliminate drunk driving. The catch? Surcharges. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights tend to be the days where you’ll see them. A journey that could cost you around $10 during the day could skyrocket to as much as $20 on a Saturday night around 1 am.

There are some other downsides that are fairly minimal, but I’ll mention them anyways. Have you ever gotten stuck with a chatty taxi driver when all you wanted to do was relax in the backseat and enjoy being chauffeured around? Yeah, that can happen with ridesharing as well. If you use the pool option, this could be magnified with the addition of other passengers.

I had a relatively bad experience with one of the companies previously mentioned once. I had to share a small Volkswagen Golf with 4 other passengers for a journey of about 6 hours. One of the other passengers made some nasty comments towards me and my friends, and it was definitely not an ideal way to spend that half-day.

That being said, there are good sides and bad sides to everything, and ridesharing is no exception.

Can you make money as a driver?

You may be interested in not only using ridesharing but in becoming a driver yourself. The question I’m sure you’re all wondering is this: is it worth it financially to become a rideshare driver?

Based on a report taken by Gridwise, a site that aims to help ridesharing drivers optimize their driving and earn more money, rideshare drivers made $18.65 per hour in 2018. The drivers that worked for more than one service made a little over $1 more per hour. Where are the drivers making most of their earnings? At the airport.

How much you’ll earn also depends on where you live. Cities such as Pittsburgh and Chicago have drivers brining in higher salaries. Supply and demand, and all of that.

Your earnings are also, not surprisingly, influenced by the weather. You can imagine that in colder or rainy weather, you can expect to work a lot more.

The good news for all of you drivers, or potential drivers? The ridesharing industry expects to keep growing in the coming years, with Lyft, in particular, expecting to reach a 35% market share in the United States in 2019.

Take-aways

  • Ridesharing is an inexpensive way to help protect the environment;
  • Avoid drinking and driving by using services such as Uber or Lyft;
  • You’ll need a smartphone to use the majority of these services;
  • Brace yourself for surcharges on the weekends and;
  • You can make money by becoming a ridesharing driver.

Ridesharing has become a vital cog in the transportation machine. You could say that it also works toward connecting people, much like the concept behind Expeeriences. Are you thinking about joining one of our upcoming gatherings? Click here to learn more.

Originally published at https://www.expeeriences.com on June 5, 2019.

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Molli Sébrier

Molli Sébrier

Musings on feminism, books, and human connections.