Looking for the magenta mustache on Saturday nights


Lyft is a safe and friendly 24/7 ride-sharing service.

Elizabeth DeCicco

On a typical Saturday night, those wandering Sacramento may notice pub crawlers carpooling in an ordinary four-door car customized with a fuzzy, magenta mustache on its grille.

The giant mustache belongs to Lyft, a safe and friendly 24/7 ride-sharing service that emphasizes the meaning of community. This savvy new service is not a hoax, but simply “your friend with a car” that costs relatively less than a taxi cab fare.

On its free smartphone app, pressing the “request lyft” button immediately matches the passenger with a nearby driver. Upon the ride, the app shows a photo of the driver and their car.

After the ride, passengers and drivers evaluate each other. The app automatically processes payment from the passenger’s saved credit card, with no cash necessary.

Lyft provides more just than a ride, though. While taking a Lyft ride, passengers are encouraged to sit in the front seat. Lyft intends to change transportation with enjoyable conversations while sharing stories, laughter and sometimes a “radio sing-a-long.”

Based in San Francisco, Lyft was founded by John Zimmer and Logan Green. It originated from the ridesharing service Zimride that matches drivers, who have empty seats, with passengers who are traveling to the same destination. In 2012, Lyft was released as the more convenient, faster version of Zimride.

Since opening last November, Lyft has aimed to market its rising service in the Sacramento region, and has also been applying to venues that would provide the service to customers.

“There is currently more demand for drivers than passengers,” said Michelle Bachem, senior business management major and Lyft ambassador. 

Lyft only hires community-oriented, congenial drivers- who are “normal folks”- not taxicab drivers with an austere personality, Bachem said.

“The drivers are very personable. Taxi cab drivers don’t relate to you and they’re focused on their jobs,” said junior computer science major Lathsamy Vongsavanh, who uses Lyft often. “Drivers converse with you and have fun with you.”

Drivers must be 23 years old, have a four-door car in good working condition and own an iPhone or Android. They must have a friendly personality, be community-oriented and enjoy meeting new people.

“The drivers always give their passengers a fist pump at the end of the ride,” said freshman biology major Taylor Hallera who frequently uses Lyft.

Lyft also focuses on making their service an entertaining and lively experience.

“Drivers also decorate their car interior with a theme,” Hallera said. “One was space Lyft and another was party Lyft, with red solo cups everywhere. It was definitely a party.”

Employed Lyft drivers must pass a phone screen interview, in-person meeting, background check and DMV record check.

“The drivers are super comfortable to be with,” said senior public relations major Brittany Post.

Post is an active Lyft rider and uses the service three to four times a week, either to travel to work or school and avoid traffic, or to enjoy the downtown area with friends.

Post has also used the ridesharing service, Uber, that is also cheaper than taking a taxi cab. But she prefers Lyft because Uber is mainly a limousine service operated by more professional drivers.

“What’s unique about Lyft drivers is they remember their passengers and their names, if they ever give them a ride again in the future,” Post said.

The service covers the Sacramento region, including North Highlands, Citrus Heights, Roseville, Elk Grove and West Sacramento, with downtown and East Sacramento being its hotspots. Compared to a $4 per-mile taxi rate, Lyft costs $2.50 per mile.

Lyft also operates in Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, Phoenix, San Antonio, and many other major cities across the nation.

The company has promoted many of its excellent offers to potential riders. When users sign up, their first two rides are free for the following two weeks. Otherwise, using the code, SACTOWN25, allows first-time riders a free ride.

During evening happy hour, rides are discounted up to 50 percent, and those who invite friends to sign up receive a $25 credit towards their next lift.

Elizabeth DeCicco can be reached at [email protected]