As a city, Boulder prides itself on embracing and inspiring innovation through technology. Although it is a smaller city, both Lyft and Uber arrived in the city fairly early on in their development. Both these companies offer ride-sharing services, providing an alternative to taxicab companies. They allow everyday people (not professional taxi drivers) to sign up and rent out their own cars for paid rides. Lyft came to Boulder in May of 2014, and Uber was soon to follow, expanding into Boulder in August of the same year.
Uber, Lyft, and local Boulder taxi companies now all compete for the same market in the city. Uber and Lyft market themselves as cheaper options which take advantage of mobile phone technology to make the process easier for their riders.
Uber and Lyft's corporate structure and use of technology may almost make it easier for the city to partner with them. In December of 2016, the city, in conjunction with the Downtown Boulder Partnership, came up with a partial solution to the downtown traffic jams and congestion that the city experiences during the holidays. They piloted a program called “Door to Downtown,” to discourage people from driving into the city and encourage them to use ride-sharing services instead. They offered $5 credits for the month of December for up to 5 trips downtown (up to $25 per person) between 11 am and 9 pm to decrease traffic.
Taxis in Boulder are aware of the commercial threat that ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft represent and are taking steps to ensure their relevancy in the market. For example, the 60 Yellow Cabs in Boulder were rebranded in early 2016 as the “zTrip fleet.” The zTrip service, like Uber and Lyft, can be ordered and paid by mobile phone. Uniquely, zTrip will not have what is known as “surge pricing,” which both the other ride-sharing services have, a process by which rides become more expensive during high demand times of the day (such as when the bars close). In addition, zTrip offers service to disabled individuals and you can reserve rides.
As more and more people take advantage of the competitive options available to them in the city of Boulder, it is important to keep safety in mind and to protect yourself in the event of an accident. Uber and Lyft do offer insurance policies to their drivers, but they are limited protection and will not cover all incidents. For example, if the driver is not logged into the Uber app at the time of the accident, the coverage will not apply. In addition, the coverage does not apply to injuries that an Uber or Lyft driver may cause to pedestrians, bicyclists, or other drivers. The companies assume that the driver has sufficient personal car insurance to cover these things and ask for proof of insurance before the driver can be approved. Taxi services, for the most part, have more expensive, comprehensive insurance because they are professional drivers.
For questions on your case regarding an accident which involved an Uber, Lyft, or taxi in Boulder, Colorado, call the Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal today at (303) 825-2223 or contact us online.