#DeleteUber: 10 Alternatives to Uber Not Named Lyft
Well….that #DeleteUber mess came out of nowhere, didn’t it? All of a sudden people were dropping Uber like the company had supported a racist, xenophobic President Trump or something. Oh wait…they did do that, didn’t they? And then people were all about Lyft for a hot second until they figured out that Lyft was also somehow tied up in knots with the racist, xenophobe too. Alas, it’s enough to throw your hands up and say there’s no winning this game. And you’d be right if you limited your choices to just Uber and Lyft…
SWICH TO BETTER
But contrary to popular belief, Uber and Lyft are not the only games in town. They may be the biggest, may even be the most convenient, but you do have options besides trying to choose between two competitors that are essentially two sides of the same coin when it comes to their lack of commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. You have the power to resist the racist, xenophobe with your money and align it with your values. Here’s how.
We looked for several competitors to Uber and Lyft and then explored how each service impacts communities in the following areas:
- Health: Does the service enhance our physical, emotional, or financial health?
- Environment: Is the service eco-friendly? Do they pool rides? Do they use energy efficient cars?
- Local: Are the majority of owners, investors and workers local to the area?
- Workers: Does the company provide a living wage, benefits and / or share ownership with workers?
- Citizenship: Is the company mission 0riented? Does it lobby governments against the public interest?
Based on the five criteria above, we scored Uber, Lyft and other transportation services on a scale of 0-10 where 0 is least socially responsible and 10 is most socially responsible. To be clear, we have not tried the majority of these services ourselves so we cannot yet vouch for their quality. So if you check one or two out, please do share with us as social responsibility is only one basis for our recommendations. Good experiences and service are just as important!
By now, you probably know about the latest controversy surrounding Uber – its CEO normalizing Donald’s Trump hate by working on his Economic Advisory Council and accused of trying to break NYC Taxi Worker’s Association’s strike in protest of Trump’s #MuslimBan. And if that were not enough, Travis Kalanick couldn’t find it in himself to fully condemn the ban even after the #DeleteUber trend started gaining steam. If this were all, maybe the company would deserve the benefit of the doubt, but they’ve been screwing drivers for years with high commissions and lower fares, while also lobbying and pressuring governments to destroy worker protections. Oh, and they threaten journalists and have a spotty record on gender sensitivity and safety. Needless to say, there are lots of reasons to move on!
Lyft makes a great attempt to look like the friendly version of Uber, with it’s original moustache icon and it’s donation to the ACLU in response to the #MuslimBan. No wonder so many people who went to #DeleteUber found themselves downloading Lyft to replace it. But if you look under the hood, it gets a bit harder to tell the difference between the two competitors. Lyft’s investors include full-throated Trump backers Peter Thiel and Carl Icahn. And while Lyft seems to avoid the most egregious behavior of Uber, their drivers’ take home pay is still low (especially after expenses), and the company is fully behind the efforts to classify gig workers as independent contractors instead of employees, thus shifting risk to the drivers. We think you can do better.
Juno is betting that being better to drivers will help it beat the competition. That always piques our interest! Per The Verge, Juno is promising to take a smaller cut of each fare [from drivers] — 10 percent compared to Uber’s 20 to 25 percent — for at least the first two years of operation. But the icing on the cake is Juno’s equity offering: 1 billion of the company’s founding shares reserved just for the drivers. It’s early (Juno just launched in NYC last year), so we’ll see how it shakes out, but it sounds promising. Check it out!
NYC, CHICAGO, DC
Via is like UberPool. However, the pricing is either a flat fee per ride (as low as $3) or you can get a ViaPass, which is $69 for 7 days or $255 for 30 days of unlimited rides. You’ll have to share the ride with neighbors. One note of caution, the pickup and dropoff lcoations do not cover the entire cities in which they operate. For instance, in NYC, the coverage area is below 125th St. in Manhattan, Williamsburg, Greenpoint and the airports.
NYC, CHICAGO, SF + MORE
Arro is the app that connects you with thousands of licensed and regulated cabs in NYC, Chicago, Boston, SF and Houston. You can use the app to hail a cab or if you find one the old fashioned way by standing on a street corner, you can pay for the cab using the app. Yellow cabs usually have more regulations to protect both drivers and passengers alike (insurance anyone?), so if this is something you care about, Arro might be worth taking a look at!
The other taxi-industry affiliated app, Curb, formerly known as Way2Ride, provides similar service as Arro, just in more cities. Probably just a little better than Uber and Lyft for drivers and local economies.
Safr is a rideshare company that addresses the needs of women. Specifically, it only has women drivers and women and children passengers. The idea came about in response to the safety concerns that many women, both drivers and passengers encountered given the unregulated nature of the ridesharing industry overall. It is scheduled to launch in Boston this Spring.
US, MIDDLE EAST, AFRICA
Started by a self-taught Black tech entrepreneur, Moovn started in Seattle in 2015 and has expanded to other US cities, but, according to the Huffington Post, “is different from other ride-sharing apps already on the market because it aims to take the industry to cities bigger companies have overlooked. The app is already available in Johannesburg, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya and Gabriel’s hometown of Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania.” The company uses the same independent contractor model as Uber unfortunately, but does charge a slightly lower commission.
Ride Austin is a non-profit that was created locally for residents of Austin and rolled out earlier in 2016. Ride Austin is actually a non-profit, per Metro, “as a rider, you also have the option to round up your fare prices to the nearest whole dollar, and the difference will be donated to a local charity. The company hopes to grow enough so that it can eventually provide free or reduced-price rides to the elderly and disabled.” As a non-profit, it can pay workers more, provide insurance while keeping fares low for passengers. Perhaps it can prove to be a model for other cities to follow.
GRAND RAPIDS, WI
People’s Ride is a coop where workers are the owners and is based in Grand Rapids, WI. It’s just getting started and most people will probably never even have a chance to ride with them, but we put them on the list to show that other service and ownership models are possible that empower workers and keep things local. Like with Ride Austin, maybe this can be a template for other cities and companies to follow moving forward.
Car services are more likely to be locally owned and employ local drivers – many of whom have been a part of the community as drivers for decades. They know where they’re going (too hardcore for a GPS) and many times in many areas, are faster to answer the call than any of the transportation service apps. And who doesn’t like riding in the back of Black Lincoln Town Car from time to time?
Buses and Trains
Amazingly, public buses and trains still exist. Admittedly, we’re showing a bit of an NYC bias here as we’re spoiled with 24/7 subway service that other parts of the country don’t have. But public transportation is the most sustainable (and lowest cost) way to get around town. Workers are unionized and, perhaps most importantly, our planet is begging for us to stop using cars!
+1: We almost forgot about just regular old cabs. But you already knew that…
+1 (again): We haven’t done it in a loooooooooong time, but we heard bikes and walking can get you from A to B sometimes too.