Sharing a Ride …

Looking through the Backyard Tourist archive, it occurred to me that I have always started with the assumption that readers have a means of transportation when recommending sights and events. What if you’re reading this and you don’t have a car? Maybe an event caught your eye, but your vehicle will be in the shop. Perhaps you just want to attend an outdoor or a Friday event without worrying about parking.

Have you tried ride-sharing yet? It can be a solution to your transportation woes or just a more convenient ride after an active day. Services such as Uber and Lyft have been operating in Lancaster County for a few years now and are becoming increasingly popular due to their convenience.

Travelers have become big fans of ride-sharing services. I’m hearing that visitors staying at our inns, hotels and Airbnbs frequently utilize ride-share services to get around the county.

On the flip side, the next time you travel, save yourself the hassle of dealing with unfamiliar streets or roads and utilize a ride-share. Even if you have your own vehicle or rental, by utilizing a ride-share you can go to a restaurant, winery or brewery – anywhere for that matter – relax and not worry about finding your way back.

Getting started is relatively simple. Initially, you’ll be able to get an estimate on your ride through most services but to actually request a ride, you’ll need to set up an account. The easiest way to do so is through smartphone apps, but you can also request a ride online. Once your account is set up and you’ve entered your destination, you’ll have to choose the type of ride you want. For instance, UberX is limited to four passengers, while UberXL can accommodate up to seven passengers at a slightly higher fare.

After you’ve selected the type of ride, the service will begin looking for the closest available drivers in your area. You’ll receive an alert when the service has found a driver; it will include information about who the driver is and estimated arrival time. You’ll also be able to track their progress towards the pick-up location. When the driver arrives, it’s a good idea to check his/her license plate and ask for his/her name to be sure you’re getting into the right vehicle.

Who are these drivers? Getting into a stranger’s vehicle is the biggest concern I’ve heard from friends and family. In my experience, drivers are typically ordinary people just looking to make a few bucks in their spare time. Some are occasional drivers, and some consider ride-share driving to be their professional occupation. All drivers have gone through both criminal and driving record checks.

Just like the drivers, riders come from all sorts of backgrounds – meeting new people is part of the ride-share experience After the trip is completed, both the rider and driver have the opportunity to rate the other. If your driver went above and beyond, you can even leave a tip right in the app.

Ride-sharing isn’t just about catching a ride anymore. Some companies are branching out or are specializing solely on food delivery. Uber Eats, Postmates and Doordash have begun operating in parts of Lancaster County to provide delivery from a wide variety of restaurants, including some local favorites such as Souvlaki Boys, Lancaster Cupcake, Lancaster Brewing Company, Prince Street Café and Commonwealth on Queen, just to name a few.

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