App-Based Car Services

by Megan Hill

May 29, 2015

© Paulgrecaud | Dreamstime

Tips / Travel

In large and mid-sized cities around the United States — and increasingly, abroad — there’s been a noticeable proliferation of so-called app-based car services that function as alternatives to taxi cabs.


The two major players are Lyft and Uber, both of which allow users to request a car via smartphone app. The app uses GPS technology to identify your location and that of your driver, and give you an approximate time of arrival. Payment and tips are also standardized through the app, which speeds your travel time by eliminating this job for the driver. Drivers are regular people with safe driving records.


Other, similar services include Sidecar, Wingz, Summon and Hailo. For Europe’s part, there’s also LeCar, SnapCar, BlaBlaCar, Djump, Heetch, and Carpooling.


It’s all incredibly streamlined, simple and welcoming, especially when compared to the often impersonal at best — to downright rude and threatening at worst — experiences with taxis. And better yet, you can rate your driver to help keep the system functioning at its best.


There have been a fair amount of squabbles between taxis and these alternative-cab services, but the proliferation of such services seem to indicate they’re here to stay. For the most part, these services do offer safe, reliable, friendly — and often cheaper — alternatives to hailing a cab.


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