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Cell Phone Apps Help Meet Transportation Needs

Lifestyle & Opinion

By Pat Denney

Both high school and college students have found an alternate, cheaper, and reliable way of getting to class and other places using a ride-sharing service. Multiple companies throughout the Tampa Bay Area provide ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft. It is as simple as downloading an app on the cell phone and registering a debit or credit card. At the end of the trip, drivers and riders are rated. If ratings fall below company standards, bad drivers or riders lose those privileges.

“It’s easy to get a ride. All I have to do is tap the Uber app on my cell phone, and I can get a ride within 10-15 minutes. I also know who is picking me up, the car they’re driving, and I can even watch them while they’re in route. I love the service; it’s convenient, and I have found it to be cheaper and faster for me than taking a taxi,” student Jenna Schmidt said.

Ride Cost Comparisons

Uber X

  • $1 initial fare
    $0.95 per mile
    (Speed over 11mph)
    $0.13 per minute
    (Speed at or under 11mph)
  • At times of high demand rates may change.
  • No need to tip. Minimum fare is $4.
  • Cancellation fee is $5.
  • Tolls are additional.
  • Flat rates are available.
  • Tolls & surcharges may apply
  • Currency in USD

 

Lyft

  • Base Charge $1.25
  • Cancel Penalty $5.00
  • Cost Minimum $4.00
  • Cost Per Mile $1.20
  • Cost Per Minute $0.13
  • Trust And Safety Fee $1.55
  • At times of high demand your fare may be subject to a ‘Prime Time’ multiplier to keep vehicles available. The multiplier, if any, will be communicated to you at the time of your ride request.
  • Applicable tolls and surcharges may also be added to your fare.

Taxi

  • $2.50 initial charge first 1/8 mile or fraction thereof
  • $0.30 for each additional 1/8 mile or fraction thereof
  • $0.30 for each 60 seconds waiting time or fraction thereof
  • $2.50 for the first 1/8 mile or fraction thereof
  • Tips and tolls are additional.
  • Pricing may vary slightly from one taxi service to another.

The cost of owning a car is considerable. Based on 15,000 miles driven annually, in 2014, AAA determined that the annual cost of owning a car ranged from $8,867-$11,039. “The costs involved in owning a car are insurance, taxes, tags, fees, licenses, gas money, tires, maintenance and upkeep. The other problem I find in owning a car, too, is that my friends who don’t have a car are always asking for me to take them places and that does add to my expenses,” said student Cody Kronz.

David Conners, another SPC student who didn’t know about ride-sharing said, “I’m surprised to learn about this service. This would be really handy for me, since right now, I use the bus and have to make a couple of connections, which is a hassle, and I’m always concerned about getting to class on-time.”

While many students find these services beneficial, others find this type of service awkward. Student Christina Samon said, “Although I’m familiar with ride-sharing services, I don’t want to get in the car with someone I don’t know, so I would never use a ride-sharing company, period. I only live about 15 minutes away, and I use my long-board or get a ride with my boyfriend.”

Although DART is not the typical ride-sharing service, it is an important service for students with disabilities. DART is a service provided by Pinellas County Transit Authority (PSTA), which states that eligibility for the DART service is based on how a person’s disability under American Disabilities Act (ADA) affects daily activities and prevents the use of an accessible fixed-route service. Students with a disability find this to be a reliable service. Student Chester Dunbar said, “Due to my disability, I use [DART] to get to class and back home. It has been very reliable and I always get to school in time for class.” For more information on DART, call PSTA at 727-540-1900.

Header photo from NewsBTC.

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