As many in the city are probably aware, Lyft and Uber are two relatively new ride-sharing services that are now both operating in Fort Collins. Both allow individuals to sign up as a Lyft or Uber driver then use their own cars to give strangers rides, like a traditional taxi. Unlike a traditional taxi, however, patrons can summon the cars on their phone, meet their driver through the app, and then pay and review their driver all on their phone after the ride. Also unlike taxis, Lyft and Uber both have something called “surge pricing.” Although often these two services are cheaper than taxis, during times of the day or special events in town, when demand for rides is high, the companies will increase their prices, charging potentially hundreds of dollars for a single ride. Taxis have higher baseline prices, but those prices stay constant, even in high demand periods.
Uber first came to Fort Collins back in August of 2014. While Uber and Lyft originally both had legal issues with regulation in new cities, in early 2014, Colorado passed a bill, brought by Fort Collins Democratic Representative Joann Ginal, that regulated such ride-sharing services and allowed their legal expansion into new cities. Uncharacteristically late in following their competitor, Lyft arrived in Fort Collins almost two years after Uber, in August of 2016.
Taxi companies in the city include Yellow Cab, Phatup Car Service, and Front Range Family Limo. Somewhat uniquely, Fort Collins also supports Tadpole Pedicab, a non-motorist, bicycle cab that offers rides from 9 pm to 3 am on the weekends in areas with a busy nightlife. Taxi services are presented with competition from newer ride-sharing companies like Lyft and Uber, but they maintain that their services are still relevant. For example, taxis are made to be accessible for people with disabilities and can be paid for with cash for those who do not have phones that support the mobile apps which Lyft and Uber run on.
In addition, taxis are often more thoroughly insured that Lyft and Uber, which only offer liability coverage up to $1 million for those involved in accidents, but many restrictions apply. If the driver is not actively in the middle of giving someone a ride, their personal insurance, not the company insurance will be liable. In addition, the coverage does not extend to third parties, like pedestrians or cyclists injured by Uber or Lyft drivers. Even if you are an Uber or Lyft passenger, the company may deny you coverage because their drivers are technically not employees, but independent contractors.
Ride-sharing services offer riders more options to get around Fort Collins, and, while competition can drive prices down, it can also encourage companies to cut costs on safety such as a comprehensive insurance coverage or compensation for victims of accidents caused by their drivers. If you have been injured in an accident involving a taxi, an Uber, or a Lyft, litigation may be more complicated than an accident between two private drivers because there are companies involved. For a complimentary case evaluation, contact the Law Office of Jeremy Rosenthal today by phone at (303) 825-2223 or online.