Ridesharing has become a racy topic in the transportation industry over the past several years, especially in highly populated metropolitan areas. New transportation options have sprung up to meet the growing demand for city residents to get from one place to another without the costs of owning a personal vehicle. Bikes and cars you can rent for short periods of time, or drivers you can hire in advance through technology like smartphone applications are only a couple of options. Car owners are also looking for flexible work and income by letting other drivers share their car or transporting passengers. Without the need to own a personal vehicle, gas consumption and emissions may decrease, along with traffic. But, how does this impact the traditional taxi and commercial vehicle industry? There’s a lot riding on the ride-sharing industry. Let’s take a drive.

what is ridesharing - definitions

What is ridesharing?

ridesharing types - renting a personal vehicle

1. A private individual rents his or her personal vehicle to another driver for a short period of time


ridesharing types - carpooling


2. A single vehicle transports all individuals in one trip instead of multiple individuals driving separate vehicles to a common destination.

ridesharing types - technology connects drivers and passengers


3. A form of carpooling that puts potential drivers in touch with potential passengers to reduce the total number of vehicles on the road.



What is real-time ridesharing?

real-time ridesharing - one-time ride sharing on short notice

A service that arranges one-time shared rides (carpooling) on very short notice.



What are Transportation Network Companies?

what are ridesharing transportation network companies

Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) provide prearranged transportation services for compensation using an online-enabled application or platform (such as smart phone apps) to connect drivers using their personal vehicles with passengers.


Rides and Revenues are Racing

  • Zipcar provides over 850,000 members on-demand access to more than 10,000 vehicles in urban areas on college campuses and at airports across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Austria
  • On Dec. 2, the coldest day of 2013 in Chicago, Divvy bikes recorded about 7,500 rides–the busiest day of that month.
  • At the end of December 2013, it was reported that Uber clocked around 1 million ride requests each week and completed 800,000 rides.

different types of rideshares

ridesharing types - professional driver services

Professional Drivers
Services such as Uber, Hailo, or TaxiMagic

Credentialed and protected drivers with taxi companies may use technology to help secure arranged rides in advance and receive payment.

  • Service Level: Premium option
  • Cost: More expensive ridesharing option in some cases, fares may include tip and fees
  • Vehicle Owner: The commercial driving company in most cases
  • Driver Regulations: Strict, such as required driver background checks, higher levels of liability insurance, and routine car inspection
ridesharing types - non-professional drivers

Non-Professional Drivers
Services like UberX, lyft, Sidecar, Carshare, wingz

Drivers may undergo background checks and comply with other requirements, but they could be less restrictive, possibly putting themselves or passengers at risk.

  • Service Level: Basic, considered the most cost-conscious form of rideshare
  • Cost: Base rates vary from one company or driver to another, but are generally lower than those of taxis. Passengers may have pricing options.
  • Vehicle Owner: Privately owned
ridesharing types - you are the driver and rent vehicles for prescheduled times


You are the Driver
Services like Zipcar, Divvy, Car2Go, enterprise CarShare

Short-term ride rentals

  • Service Level: Self-service for drivers and subscribers
  • Cost: Varies based on ride frequency, duration of rides, vehicle, and customer type.
  • Vehicle Owner: Rideshare provider company

key benefits of ridesharing for riders and drivers
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ridesharing controversy and personal injury law - transportation gets tricky

Why are there controversies between taxi companies and TNCs?

In contrast to traditional taxi companies, most ridesharing companies have safeguards of sorts in place, but they are at the discretion of the companies themselves and are therefore not standardized, which some argue create unfair competition and safety concerns for passengers.
Some services operate on a donations-only payment system, which creates confusion as they may attempt to circumvent regulations for classified commercial vehicles.             
At least some ride-service drivers are keeping their status secret from their insurance companies because they’re afraid of losing coverage.
One observation is it is not currently possible to insure a car as both a personal vehicle and commercial at the same time, though this may change.

Rideshare Personal Injury: Protect Yourself Before Riding or Driving


  1. Check to see if the rideshare company verifies drivers’ personal auto insurance coverage.
  2. Be mindful of legal considerations such as underinsured drivers and who’s responsible if an accident occurs before using a company’s transportation services.
  3. Make sure the rideshare company provides commercial insurance coverage that will cover you from the minute of your ride request until the trip is complete.
  4. Rate your drivers to ensure the continued safety of your future rides and all passengers.
  5. Review rideshare company options as some may have more protection than others, providing safer rides and protection for passengers and drivers.


  1. Review regulations and requirements for becoming a driver with a rideshare company.
  2. You may be in danger of invalidating your personal auto insurance policies if you transport rideshare passengers.
  3. Even if you have personal auto insurance coverage, your insurance company may not pay out personal coverage if an accident arises and commercial status in unclear.
  4. If you will be driving a vehicle that is not your own, find out if the rideshare company provides personal injury protection and what benefits your own personal coverage provides.
  5. Review and have a solid understanding of insurance policies and coverage provided by rideshare companies before you drive.

Riders and Drivers: Ask transportation companies if liability insurance they carry would cover driver and passenger injuries if a rideshare vehicle is hit by an uninsured driver, or one with limited insurance coverage.

rideshare and personal injury law - protect yourself with transportation
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