Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Lyft Expands to Washington, DC Area

Need a Ride? Lyft to the rescue!

Washington trails only New York for the longest average commute to work in the United States (34.5 minutes) so it pays to have options. DC is also the eighth most expensive city to park in... and don't get me started on Metro (especially on the weekends.) Wouldn't it be nice to pick up your smartphone, tap a few keys and find a safe, affordable lift to your destination? Thanks to San Francisco-based start-up Lyft, Washingtonians may finally have just the thing to get them around town safely and smartly.

What is Lyft? Let's go straight to the source.

Introducing Lyft - Your friend with a car whenever you need one. Lyft is more fun and less money than a cab. Just download the app, tap a button and a friendly driver will be on the way. You get to see a picture of the car and driver, and watch from your phone as the Lyft approaches your location. Passengers sit in the front seat where they can charge their phone and choose the music. There’s a built in rating system to maintain an awesome community. You’ll also never have to worry about having enough cash because all payments are made with a credit card in the app. To start using Lyft, just download the app for iPhone or Android and request your first ride!

I've lived in DC for most of my life (44 years... yikes!) and cringe at the thought of hailing a cab. Raise your hand, if any of the following scenarios ring a bell...

You call ahead for a cab, and... nothing. You're stranded, late and literally right back where you started.

You extend your arm, and waist helplessly for a cab to (a) make a dangerous u-turn to pick you up (b) drive right past you or (c) drive right past you.

Ask the driver to roll down the windows and turn on the A/C.

Sit helplessly as your driver makes personal phone calls or... my personal favorite, chats with his strange companion in the front passenger seat.

Stare helplessly at the meter, wondering when it's going to stop clicking upwards

(For the ladies) Try to ignore some gross guy's lame pick-up lines... "I'll give you a free ride for a kiss." You know what I'm talking about: I wish I was making this up.

Now, think about the opportunity of seeing a photo of the person who's going to pick you up... and a photo of the car they're going to pick you up in. DC is Lyft's seventh major US city, and they've already racked up more than a million rides in just over a year of doing business.

Best of all, readers of DC Outlook have a chance to earn $20 in free credit just by signing up (and entering the code: DCOUTLOOK.) 20 bucks and the chance to call your own shots? Where do I sign?