Ridesharing has become a ubiquitous part of our country’s transportation system. If you’ve ever been to a bigger city and didn’t want to rent a car or stand on the street to hail a cab, chances are you’ve used a ridesharing app. Now we can count Owensboro among the locales where this handy service is available.
We use our phones for other travel-related purposes, like booking a flight, so why not utilize them to arrange a ride across town? That’s the idea that providers like Lyft and Uber have seized upon to control the market share in ridesharing. Though still relatively new to the transportation landscape, and still unknown to some, ridesharing is the poster child of the gig economy.
For those that are unfamiliar with how it works, the service is beneficial for both drivers and passengers. A driver could be anyone from a retiree to a college student, or even someone with a full-time job. The perk of driving for a company like Lyft is that you can earn extra income and make your own hours. Drivers use their own vehicles, and through the app on their phone, accept ride requests from potential passengers who are also using the app. Once the driver has picked up their passenger and delivered them to their desired destination, the app processes pay from the passenger’s saved credit card. Money earned from driving is then deposited into the driver’s account.
In addition to the benefits for rideshare drivers, the service is beneficial to riders, too. On November 16, 2017, Erica Yartz, an attorney and communication chair for the Chamber Young Professionals, became Owensboro’s first Lyft passenger. For Yartz, the upside to having a service like Lyft in Owensboro is both diverse and clear: “I think it will really benefit the community in many different ways. I think we’ll see more people going out and staying out because ridesharing is an easy, safe driving option. That would definitely benefit local businesses.”
Yartz continued, highlighting further economic and safety benefits of the service as it pertains to Owensboro: “It creates flexible job opportunities for residents. It will hopefully decrease drunk driving in the area. Also, so many cities these days have ridesharing that visitors expect the ease of a ride sharing app to get around. So, I think Owensboro tourism will benefit in that aspect, as well.” In other words, for a city like Owensboro, which is looking to recruit young professionals, as well as new employers to town, the availability of ridesharing is an essential element to growth.
Getting Lyft to Owensboro wasn’t as simple as a few residents downloading the app. It involved a concerted effort from many individuals and organizations, starting with the Chamber Young Professionals. Andrew Howard, commercial loan officer at Independence Bank and Chair of the CYP, said “The Chamber Young Professionals saw an opportunity to engage our community in an effort that could bring ridesharing to Owensboro. On November 2, the community participated in a social media campaign targeting Uber and Lyft with the intention of bringing attention to our city. We are extremely thankful for the support this campaign received and it was without a doubt, a community effort.”
Now that Lyft is officially in Owensboro, Howard views ridesharing as an important piece in the evolution of our city. “Having a ridesharing service in Owensboro is important because it’s an additional asset for us in keeping Owensboro progressive; it’s presence is one that will benefit local citizens as well as tourists and guests. Additionally, having the ridesharing service asset adds an additional quality of life piece for Owensboro,” said Howard.
Requirements for becoming a Lyft driver:
• You must be at least 21 and own an iPhone or Android phone;
• Possess an in-state driver’s license that’s at least a year old;
• Undergo a DMV check, plus a national and county background check.
• Your car needs to have four external door handles and at least five total seat belts.
• You must be a covered party on your car’s in-state insurance, and have in-state license plates.