Monday, March 31, 2014

Guest Posting: Don't Want to Own a Car, but Public Transit Not for You? Try Community Lifts

(Periodically we carry guest posts of possible interest to readers  Today's guest author is Teresa Stewart.  We welcome different perspectives.)

There was once a time in American history where people didn't need automobiles to get from Point A to Point B. After the invention of the car, large cities and the Interstate system, however, a vehicle is now more of a necessity than a luxury. In larger cities though, such as New York, it's very easy to get around via public transportation. Regardless of convenience, there are still many who prefer not to use these methods of mass transit. Fortunately, there are now methods of getting from Point A to B that can save people money while simultaneously allowing them to avoid purchasing their own vehicle or taking mass transit.

Community Rideshare Services

Avoiding mass transit and still traveling in an automobile are now easier than ever thanks to community rideshare programs. There are a variety of these programs that provide differing commuting options, but the key feature of these services is the fact that a person can save money while still avoiding public transportation. One of the most popular services is known as Zipcar. This company has vehicles stationed all over cities where an individual can simply scan their card and then take the vehicle wherever they need to go. With Zipcar, their service covers the vehicle, gas, mileage and even insurance; so it's a great savings over owning one's own vehicle.

Another type of service is offered by a company known as Lyft. Lyft Car drivers operate much like taxi drivers. A person simply schedules a ride via an app, and a Lyft Car driver will show up in their nice pre-approved personal vehicle to take the rider wherever they need to go. The company claims that commuters save about 30 percent over traditional taxi fares. Other companies, such as Zimride and PickupPal, offer similar services as well.

Benefits of Community Rides

The benefits of these rideshare programs are numerous, and it's likely what has turned the industry into such a success. Make note that you will be making a personal contribution toward decreasing air pollution. As mentioned above hefty car payments, annual taxes, regular maintenance, emission checks, and repairs are all expenses which are avoided.  All of the share programs, regardless of which a person chooses, knocks off the necessity of purchasing a car insurance policy. Since gas is also covered in all of these programs, a person will never have to worry about the seemingly constant rising gas prices.

In addition, these services allow an individual to get wherever they need to go without having to worry about potential dangers posed by the criminal element lurking around public transport. While mass transit may seem like a good idea due to its extremely low cost, using this mode can prove especially costly in the end. iPhone theft on New York City subways, for instance, is 
so rampant that the city is working directly with Apple to reduce thefts. In addition, recent subway attacks have shown just how potentially dangerous mass transit can be.

Comparing Costs of Programs

Before choosing a community rideshare program, a person should always take the initiative to do a little research. Many services that provide drivers, such as Lyft, also give users the ability to rate their experiences. Checking out these ratings is a good way to ensure that a driver is safe.

Additionally, all of these programs vary in cost. In fact, a service that is the best deal in one city may not necessarily be as great in another. Fortunately, the Wall Street Journal did a 
price comparison between programs that could really come in handy for those looking for a ride.

The costs related to owning a vehicle can be deterring, and riding on mass transit is usually left to those who need it out of necessity rather than desiring to actually take it. Fortunately, the aforementioned community rideshare-type services can now avoid both of these inconveniences while still ensuring that a person has reliable transportation within their city.

(Freelance writer Teresa Stewart enjoys learning how companies are coming together to present solutions to community residents. She researched ride share programs online to gain updated information to share with readers.)  

Photo Credit: David Crow     Alfredo Mendez


1 comment:

Nadine S. said...

I think this is a great idea. As our cities get more crowded, new thoughts must be considered for the environment