Last year I got myself in a bit of bind. I had just gotten my car out of the shop. My mechanic had spent about two weeks chasing down a coolant leak. Being a financial planner, I hate spending money and tend to keep cars around much longer than others think that I should. But this coolant leak had gotten under my skin. Two weeks what felt like entire engine rebuild later, I got my car on the road. Ten miles later, there was steam pouring out of my engine and I was stuck on the side of I94. One of the only hoses that wasn’t replaced had just burst.

I called AAA and got a tow.  I needed a ride.  I had not wanted to download Uber as I had fancied it a expensive habit. I finally relented and downloaded the Uber app. Almost 3 miles to Wicker Park for just under $4 was a pretty good deal. Don’t expect those same prices if heading from north Deerfield to south Northbrook, but it was less than half the price I would have expected from a cab.

Uber vs. Lyft

UberPool and Lift Line close to introduction in Chicago Area.

I have been a pretty big advocate of Uber since that day. But I never really felt that Uber and Lyft were living up to their billing as “ride sharing” apps. Who exactly am I “sharing” a ride with? The guy driving my Uber didn’t exactly need to get to Nielsen Tennis Center to watch my tennis match. But this seems about to change.

Uber and Lyft are debuting services that will truly allow riders to share rides with other people who happen to be heading the same direction at the same time. Lift Line and UberPool are two new services being rolled out that promise to get people to actually share cars. Currently these two services are having their kinks worked out in New York and San Francisco.

With UberPool and Lift Line, don’t expect half price, but a 40% discount does seem possible given the mathematics coming out of the test areas. Riders will get the discount even if they don’t get matched with another rider. Drivers will benefit from longer more profitable rides given.

This seems like a win win for everyone. Uber and Lyft get some good press for actually providing something new rather than just a better taxi service. Riders get less expensive options for rides, and the good feeling you can get by actually doing something good for the environment. And hopefully I land up finding new clients for Deep Blue Financial stemming from fortunate encounters in the back of a stranger’s car.