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Friday, August 31, 2012

Debunking the Pink Mustaches: Taxi Alternative Lyft Launches in San Francisco

Posted By on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 4:00 PM

click to enlarge Badass 'stache
  • Badass 'stache
We've all been there -- we need a ride home from a late night of pub crawling and we don't want to throw up on Muni. So we call that lucky friend with a car to hitch a ride home.

This friend never quarrels with us and lets us hog the phone charger in the car. And the vehicle has a pink mustache. Sound too good to be true?

Well, it's not. Some of San Francisco's digital mavens got together and created Lyft, a new application for iPhone and Android that lets you rent a "friend with a car," the company describes.

At the end of the drive, customers will be asked for a "suggested donation" from their driver. But here's the catch: at the end of the drive, customers and drivers will be able to rate each other. So if some cheap ass refuses to pay, that'll probably be his last ride with the pink 'stache. All transactions are electronic.

Lyft says it has done thorough background checks on these drivers to make sure the pink mustache cars are perfectly safe. The company checks the drivers' DMV and criminal backgrounds, sees that the car is in tip-top shape, and conducts extensive in-person interviews to make sure that the driver is cool enough to entertain clients while hauling them around the city. So far, the company has only accepted 5 percent of applicants.

Still, Lyft has over 100 drivers in San Francisco, and is looking for more.

Lyft released its Android application and launched to the public this week. Although only 2 months old, these pink mustaches have gained popularity. About 80 percent of riders who have used the app use it again, the company reported. Also, 55 percent of the users request a ride at least once a week. And with their pink mustaches, these cars are easy to spot, even in San Francisco's ridiculous traffic.

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Suzanne Stathatos


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