Whether you need to get to work, are enjoying a night out, or want a convenient way to travel during vacation or a business trip, ridesharing is growing in popularity as a form of transportation.
Ride Sharing companies match passengers with drivers of vehicles for hire via websites and mobile apps. Unlike taxicabs, these rides cannot legally be hailed from the street.
Many believe that rideshare services are safer than traditional taxis. This is because rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft vet, track, and monitor the drivers. In addition, the rider’s fare is calculated in advance and doesn’t increase due to being stuck in traffic or the driver taking a longer route. Most importantly, you are provided with the name, photo, phone number, car make and model, and license plate of the driver via the app before you get in the car. This helps you confirm it is the ride you are waiting for.
Here’s how it typically works:
- You download the rideshare company’s app to your smartphone. (Use the App Store for iPhones or iPads and Google Play for all other mobile devices.) The app will ask you to set up an account and enable location services. If you enable location services, the app will automatically detect where you are located when requesting a ride. This is convenient because all you need to do is confirm it is your location. If you do not enable your location service, you can still request a ride, but you will need to manually enter in the location address
- Before your first ride, you will need to set up an account, which includes entering a credit card number. No cash is ever needed or exchanged directly with the driver. Your credit card will be safely stored on file, but will only be charged when you use the service.
- To book a ride, open the app and type in the place or address you need to go. Ridesharing apps use an online directory, so if you type in “Giant,” for example, you’ll be offered to choose from any of the Giant locations near you.
- The app will display fare options for a standard or basic vehicle that seats 2-3 people (plus the driver). If there are more than 3 people traveling together, you can see if larger vehicles are available to accommodate all of you. (Note: larger vehicles have a higher fare).
- After you select the type of vehicle, the app will search for available drivers near you. When one is identified, a picture of the driver, a description of the vehicle, and the driver’s contact number will show up on your screen. You’ll also be given an estimated time for pickup and see where your driver is on a map.
- When your ride is complete, the app will simply charge the credit card you have on file. You can also add a tip for the driver on your card and rate the driver based on your experience. Rating the driver helps celebrate the best drivers and identify any issues with other drivers so rideshare companies can take action.
Engage in life: Ridesharing opens a world of convenience! If you’re unfamiliar with Uber or Lyft, ask someone who is familiar to help you do a practice run before trying it on your own. To hear an in-depth personal perspective from a person using Uber, watch this video.
Don’t have a smartphone?
GoGo Grandparent offers a variety of services, including setting up a ride service and even providing extra vetting of drivers, for a monthly fee, regardless of whether you use the services. Learn more.
Tips for Ridesharing
- If you want a ride during a busy time of day or on a weekend, you may want to check your app ahead of time to see how long a wait is. The waiting time is based on the number of drivers available. If the wait is longer than usual, book the ride to ensure you reach your destination on time.
- Be outside and ready when your driver is approaching. And have your phone handy, too. Depending on traffic or parking, your driver may not be able to pull directly in front of your pickup location. If they are having difficulty picking you up, they will call or text you.
- It’s always a good practice to confirm your driver. Before you get in the car, ask “What is my name?” and then ask the driver to confirm your name.
- Just like taxi drivers, some rideshare drivers are more personable than others. Don’t feel the need to chat if you don’t want to. When you do chat, never divulge any private or confidential information. The driver does not need your credit card, SS#, home address, phone number, or any other personal data.
TroveStreet is Here to Help
If you haven’t already, create an online profile with TroveStreet where you can jot down things you want to keep handy based on what you read or save this article for easy access. TroveStreet offers a Quick-Start Planning Tool with four questions to facilitate your planning. If you have questions or want to connect with a Planning Navigator, call TroveStreet at 717-363-1129.