This week, Pennsylvania lawmakers are expected to vote on new legislation for “ridesharing” companies like Uber and Lyft.
I have been driving for Lyft since last month and have really enjoyed my time shuttling Pittsburghers around. But even before I began using it as a part-time job, I was a satisfied customer of Uber and Lyft in Los Angeles.
That is why I urge Pittsburghers to support the full legalization of ridesharing in Pennsylvania. Three things to keep in mind:
1. Pittsburgh has the most bars per capita of any city in the United States — 12 bars per 10,000 people.
2. People in Pittsburgh are desperate for car service on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Check out this chart from Uber public relations on the number of requests they get in Pittsburgh throughout the week:
Guess what — those folks aren’t requesting Uber rides to go to the grocery store. They’re drunk.
3. Cab service in Pittsburgh is inadequate. I have heard sad tale after sad tale from my Lyft passengers — waiting 60 minutes for a taxi on a Friday night, waiting 90 minutes for a taxi on a Saturday night, having a taxi they requested “jacked” by someone else who had not requested it, or worst of all having a taxi they requested not show up at all.
And that’s just the areas of Allegheny County where Yellow Cab will actually drive.
I don’t know if Lyft and Uber will decrease traffic, open up more parking spots or increase quality of life (though all that is possible).
I do know that legalized Lyft and Uber will prevent many people from driving drunk in the Pittsburgh area. And that is bound to save lives.
If you’re in Pennsylvania, contact your legislator. Use the guide Uber published the other day or the form email that Lyft posted. Either way, take two minutes and support innovation in Pittsburgh that keeps dangerous drunk drivers off our streets.