The battle of the pink mustache
Cars with pink mustaches (or car-staches) are the emblem of Lyft – a Ride-Share service that, like Sidecar and Uber, uses smart phone apps to link ordinary people driving cars with people needing rides. The computer sets the price, payment is electronic, there’s no tipping, and service is not only fast and friendly, but way cheaper than a cab.
It has cities like Seattle determined to regulate it in the name of safety.
But John Zimmer told me these regulations are not about safety.
“I think what’s going on overall is that there are new industries that are providing new ways for people to get around where there hasn’t been much competition,” said Zimmer.
Zimmer, the founder of Lyft, said this is really about protecting the traditional taxi industry, even though he’s found that taxi drivers have been moonlighting as Lyft drivers.
“Maybe one of the reasons why is they get to keep 80 percent of what is transacted – probably twice the amount they’re able to keep on other platforms,” said Zimmer.
Not only that, figures show that during the year Lyft has been operating in Seattle, taxis made more money.
Lyft passengers wouldn’t use taxis anyway, he said. Most of them are people who have cars, and, without Lyft, would simply drive themselves.
“Sure there are certain rides that overlap, but many of the rides on this platform were going to be with someone driving themselves,” said Zimmer.
It’s strange – cities are struggling with parking problems, transit cutbacks, greenhouse gases and here the solution is staring right at them…from behind a pink mustache.
Their response is get a shave.