Why Ridesharing Doesn't Only Refer to Uber and Lyft
(Columbia, Missouri, March 21, 2022) – Most people have heard of the term “ridesharing,” and are at least somewhat familiar with the various ridesharing services available—namely Uber and Lyft. In fact, 36% of adults in the United States use ridesharing services—also referred to as “ride-hailing services”—while 61% of adults report having heard about rideshare services but never using them. That means that only 3% of adults in the U.S. haven’t heard of ridesharing services like Uber or Lyft.
While ridesharing seems like a recent phenomenon that is dominated by these two companies, the concept of sharing rides is not new. In this article, we’ll look at what ridesharing is, its benefits, and why it doesn’t only refer to Uber and Lyft.
What Is Ridesharing?
What most people think of when they think of ridesharing is something called real-time ridesharing services. These options—like Uber and Lyft—allow users to arrange a ride in real-time through a smartphone app, with passengers usually being picked up by a driver in their privately owned vehicle.
However, ridesharing is defined as “an arrangement or instance involving the sharing of rides in a motor vehicle with other people, especially commuters.” By this description, ridesharing involves any instance in which individuals share a ride in a vehicle. This includes transportation options—both public and private—like buses, trains, vans, and more. While you can’t hail these options on-demand from an app, they allow commuters to get where they’re going by sharing a ride with others.
Now that we’ve explained what ridesharing is, let’s look at some of the benefits it offers.
The Benefits of Ridesharing
Ridesharing is a popular transportation option for a reason—it offers many benefits. Here are some of the main advantages:
Cost - How much you spend on rideshare transportation depends on the services you use and how often you use them. If you simply Uber everywhere you go, the costs will add up pretty quickly. However, rideshare services are generally much cheaper than owning your own automobile. In fact, AAA reports that the average cost to own and operate a car is over $9,000. That figure also doesn’t factor in parking costs. With ridesharing, you don’t have to worry about parking, insurance, maintenance, or fuel.
Flexibility - Additionally, ridesharing services offer flexibility because of the multiple options that are available. This includes services like Uber and Lyft, and also more traditional alternatives like public transportation. With so many choices, you’ll be able to get where you need to be and choose the option that works best for you. If one option isn’t available, there are always others. This also means you don’t have to worry about finding parking, paying attention to street signs, worrying about other drivers, and more.
Time - Ridesharing also makes you a passenger instead of a driver, so it gives you time back in your day. Since you don’t have to focus on the road, you can do many other things you might not always have time for, like resting, reading a book, watching a movie or show on your phone, doing work, or a number of other options.
Environmentally Friendly - Depending on the specific option, using rideshare services can also be more environmentally friendly than driving your own car. While Ubers and Lyfts can actually produce more greenhouse gases, alternative transportation choices like public transportation conserve energy and are better for the planet.
These are only a few of the many benefits of ridesharing, so it’s no surprise why sharing rides with others is becoming increasingly popular. Uber and Lyft are the most famous choices for ridesharing, but what do other options look like?
How Rural Transit Services Like OATS Transit Offer An Alternate Ridesharing Option
You don’t have to take an Uber or a Lyft to experience the benefits of ridesharing services listed above. In fact, transportation choices like OATS Transit can offer even more advantages, like costing less, traveling greater distances, including accommodations for the elderly and disabled, and more.
One of the biggest needs of rural America is reliable transportation, and rideshares like Uber and Lyft aren’t always viable options outside of urban centers. Reliable rural transportation is a key step to helping rural populations.
One of the solutions is nonprofit rural transit like OATS Transit. We’re a leading specialized transportation agency serving 87 of the 114 counties in Missouri with our fleet of more than 700 mini-buses and minivans. Missouri has over 2 million residents—about 37% of the state—that live in rural areas. We serve thousands of these Missourians, including senior citizens, people with disabilities, and more, regardless of their sex, age, sexual orientation, national origin, color, or religion.
However, while we serve 87 counties in Missouri, we still lack local funding support. 50% of our funding comes from Federal Transit Administration grants, but the remaining 50% must come from local funding sources such as local government agencies, businesses, hospitals, foundations, and social service agencies. Usually, that 50% local funding is what keeps us from providing expanded service to even more rural Missourians. If local agencies can pool their funds together, then we can offer more service and support more rural communities.
If you or someone you know needs help with transportation services, contact us today and we’ll help you get where you need to go safely and reliably! If you’d like to learn more about what we do, find out how to ride, make a donation to support our work, or apply for one of our available driving positions!
“Enhancing quality of life by providing safe, caring & reliable transportation services.”
written by Dom Lincoln
Photo credit: <a href="https://www.freepik.com/photos/public-transportation">Public transportation photo created by freepik - www.freepik.com</a>