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‘Need a Lyft?’

You may have thought only the Hillsboro hipsters had mustaches, but now cars seem to be sprouting them – and fuzzy pink ones at that.

These mustachioed vehicles are key parts of a popular ridesharing service that has Belmont students in both the driver and passenger seats.

It’s called Lyft, and it’s making an impact on Nashville – and not just a visual one.

Lyft began in San Francisco in 2012 and has since spread to 19 other cities, including Nashville, according to the company’s website.  That success comes from affordability and a sense of community.

“It’s like you’re a part of a secret club that anyone can join,” said Lyft driver and Belmont student Danielle Hollis.

Technology is also a cornerstone of the company.

In order to get rides from Lyft, you must first create an account through Facebook, explained Hollis. When a user needs a ride, they simply press a button on the company’s mobile app and their location and information is sent to the nearest “Lyfter,” as the drivers are called.

Once the Lyfter arrives in their pink-mustachioed car, the passenger is greeted with a friendly fist bump. A sense of friendship and community between the riders and Lyfters is encouraged and maintained by its participants.

Once the rider arrives at his or her destination he or she’s able to leave without having to worry about the hassle of getting fare money together.

Lyft allows you to pay online by registering your credit card information and encourages donations to the drivers. This helps keep prices down. The cost of taking a Lyft car is about 30 percent cheaper than taking a taxi, according to the site.

Lyft also uses technology to maintain the quality of its service, said Hollis. After a ride, riders can rate their driver on a 1 to 5 scale. If Lyfters’ ratings drop below 4.5, they are dropped from the company.

Lyfters can also use ratings – if they give a low enough number to a passenger they will no longer receive ride requests from them.

This rating system is one of the ways Lyft maintains a sense of security for both driver and passenger.

Lyfters must go through a tough application process and pass a background check, said Lyft user and Belmont student Jena Lavicka. These hurdles make passengers “feel very safe,” said Lavicka.

These positive aspects have caused a surge in popularity and usage of Lyft by many in the Nashville area.

There were only about 100 drivers a month ago and now there are nearly 350 registered on the Nashville Lyft Facebook group, said Hollis.

This popularity has given many benefits to users of the service, but it’s also led to a few problems.

“It can be really hard to find jobs now that there’s so many Lyfters,” said Hollis.  However, she said it’s a good job and a fun one as well.

Lavicka agrees the service is a good thing for Nashville.

While downtown on New Year’s Eve, she saw many inebriated people getting rides from Lyfters. She and some friends used a Lyft car to get home that night.

It was reassuring to see people who may have harmed others by driving themselves able to find a safe alternative, said Lavicka.

Lyfters also say the service is helpful to those in need.

“It sometimes feels like we’re little superheroes,” says Hollis.

Passengers are happy seeing the pink mustaches around town.

“It’s reassuring,” said Lavicka. “You just never know when you’re going to get stuck somewhere and need a ride.”

-Tyler Rissier

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