The Tacoma Sun


Bringing Ridesharing Services Such as Lyft in Tacoma, Could Solve Some Transportation Needs

By Erik Bjornson


Cities around the country and world are increasing taking advantage of new technologies and new ridesharing companies such as Lyft, Uber and Sidecar.  So should Tacoma.  I tried Lyft out last weekend in Seattle, it worked like magic.  The car came within 2 minutes.

From Wikipaedia:

Lyft is a privately held, San Francisco–based Transportation Network Company whose mobile-phone application facilitates peer-to-peer ridesharing by enabling passengers who need a ride to request one from drivers who have a car.[1][2] Unlike traditional taxis, Lyft drivers do not charge “fares” but receive “donations” from their passengers.[3] Lyft’s tagline is “your friend with a car.”[4] According to the company, Lyft generally costs about 30 percent less than the price of a similar-length cab ride.[5][6] Lyft currently operates in 19 cities including San FranciscoLos AngelesSan Diego,SacramentoSeattleChicagoWashington D.C.BostonCharlotteDenverDallasAtlantaBaltimorePhoenixSt. PaulIndianapolisNashville, andPittsburgh with plans to expand both domestically and internationally.[2][7][8]


Since its launch, Lyft has exploded in popularity,[17] growing to more than 100,000 registered users[20] and facilitating more than 30,000 rides per week within its first 12 months.[9] The service has more than 300 drivers in San Francisco alone,[21] who report earning as much as $30 to $35 an hour.[22]

One key to Lyft’s success has been establishing trust among its users.[17] Lyft claims that its safety precautions are more stringent than those performed by taxi and limousine companies,[26] and that it only accepts 6 percent of its driver applicants.[27] Beyond requiring every driver to join Lyft through their personal Facebook account and subjecting drivers to a 5-star rating assessment from passengers following each ride, the company carefully vets potential Lyft drivers[3] through performing the following additional screening functions:

  • DMV and criminal background checks[17]
  • In-person interviews by Lyft employees[17]
  • Vehicle inspections and a two-hour training and safety session[17]
  • Drivers must be 23 years or older and have a driver’s license for more than 3 years;[1]
  • Zero tolerance drug and alcohol policy[19]


Granted, ridesharing services will not fulfill all of Tacoma’s transportation needs, however, they have the potential to play an important role.  Even the protectionist city of Seattle is allowing them.


Ridesharing services are a great deal for cities as they:

1) Give drivers a higher wage.

2) Reduce car dependence.

3) Reduce the cost of transportation.

4) Allow more people more options so that they feel comfortable using a car less or not at all.

5) Reduce the number of parking spaces required in a city.

6) Reduce congestion, exhaust and pollutants.

7) Reduce the fare by approximately 30 percent.

7) Make navigating a city easier, making a city like Tacoma more attractive to visit and live in

Hopefully, Tacoma will have the advantages of ridesharing companies soon as other model cities already have them.

published March 3rd, 2014

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 David // Mar 3, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    Before considering to driver for uber consider this.
    The true loser in all of this is the Uber-X driver. People who driver for Uber-X are very short and nearsighted. The rate for Uber-X is only benefiting the Customer and Uber, Driver will have a car with over 100.000 Miles in a YEAR. They do not make enough money to even cover a new car.
    Look at the math: From 100 % of a regular taxi rate.
    Deduct 20 % less for customary taxi driver tip which Uber refuses to enforce.
    Deduct 20 % less for commission to Uber
    Deduct 30 % less for rates below normal taxi rates.
    What is left is only 30% for the driver.
    So what is the profit for the long term? NOT A DIME, they end up car-less in a year :).

  • 2 Laura // Mar 4, 2014 at 4:44 am

    Yes, yes, YES! Bring ridesharing to Tacoma. Goodness knows we need it. The amount of people who drive drunk (you know who you are, because for a big city, Tacoma’s pretty small) would really benefit from these services. Need to get to TCC from downtown? You could take to bus, but maybe you’re late for class and need a faster ride. Friends and family visiting from out of town? Who wants to pay for parking when you could take a Lyft, Sidecar, or Uber and not have to worry about your car getting broken into. Absolutely bring ridesharing to Tacoma and see how many jobs it creates, how many DUIs it prevents, and how many satisfied transportation customers there are. Step into the future, Tacoma, don’t be the black sheep while Seattle steals the spotlight.

  • 3 stewart resmer // Mar 6, 2014 at 5:06 am

    All nine Seattle City Council members say they are worried that most Lyft, uberX and Sidecar drivers are chauffeuring passengers across Seattle with gaps in insurance coverage the council wants to address as soon as possible.

    Each of the app-dispatched ride services says it has insurance of at least $1 million in coverage for rides that drivers offer in their personal cars. But because the companies have never shared their master insurance policies publicly, city officials don’t have a clear idea of what is covered and what isn’t

    By Alexa Vaughn

    Seattle Times staff reporter

  • 4 stewart resmer // Mar 6, 2014 at 5:08 am

    You’re not fooling us, Uber! 8 reasons why the “sharing … – ……/youre_not_fooling_us_uber_8_reasons_why_the_sharing _econ…
    You’re not fooling us, Uber! 8 reasons why the “sharing economy” is all about corporate greed. Or, how to make money for Silicon Valley venture capitalists while …

  • 5 Chris Van Dyk // Mar 6, 2014 at 10:12 am

    Shouldn’t this be marked “paid advertising”?

  • 6 Justin Camarata // Mar 6, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Neither Uber not Lyft has us, unless Erik is hiding something. We just really like ridesharing and think it could fill a lot of transportation gaps and contribute to overall urban vitality here.

    Additionally, I’ve seen these same cut-and-paste comments on other pro-rideshare articles elsewhere. You guys could at least get a little more creative about it.

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