No matter what major city you find yourself in around the world, there is at least one commonality when it comes to public transportation: Uber. Over the past few years, Uber has become one of the top ride-sharing services across the world, and for good reason. It is convenient, relatively inexpensive for its services when compared to traditional taxis and can be accessed at any time just by tapping a few buttons on your phone. While there have been other ride-sharing services that have risen to the forefront in recent years, Uber has seemed to outshine them in terms of popularity. After all, you never hear people saying, “we can just Lyft there;” It’s always, “I’ll just Uber over.” However, that may begin to change due not only to Uber’s growing reputation as a company with questionable business practices, but to other company’s promises to be better for people and the planet as a whole.
This past week, Lyft, another extremely popular ride-sharing service, announced that they would be adding a “self-imposed carbon tax” to their services, so that each ride will assist in the fight against climate change. In essence, this tax is used to try to offset the harm that Lyft rides are doing to the environment by forcing the company to financially support other more environmentally-friendly initiatives. This is not the first eco-friendly thing Lyft has done recently, as this move accompanies a recent decision for the company to join the We Are Still In movement. According to its organizers, this movement aims to demonstrate “America’s enduring commitment to tackling climate change, ensuring a clean energy future and upholding the Paris Agreement.” The movement came about after President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Accords, and has gained an immense following that has been made even bigger by the addition of Lyft in recent months.
While it may seem strange to think of a company based in greenhouse gas-creating vehicles as a leader in environmental sustainability, that is what Lyft is proving they can be. As cars and trucks amount to nearly one third of our nation’s greenhouse gas production, it is imperative that we do as much as we can to limit the effect that vehicles have on our environment (https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2018/04/19/every-lyft-ride-offset-carbon-tax-reduce-global-warming/528483002/). While Lyft is not yet taking steps to specifically limit the types of car or emissions standards of cars that are hired by their service to ensure lowered greenhouse gas emissions, they are acknowledging that there is a problem and are taking preliminary steps to fix it. Although donating money in order to counteract a problem may not be as effective as tackling the problem straight at the source, Lyft has clearly shown with this decision that they care about the future of our planet and are willing to step up and begin paying their dues in order to get our planet in better shape. After all, with estimated payment totals “in the millions,” according to Lyft President John Zimmer, Lyft may be able to really help support those who can make our country transition to cleaner forms of energy.
Lyft’s recent announcement to “pay back” the planet to make up for its greenhouse gas emissions certainly changes the game for ride-sharing services. While calling an Uber may be more convenient in some locations, or the more common option for rides, Lyft is quickly working its way up the ranks in terms of popularity for its service. If anything, this newfound commitment to bettering the planet should only make this rise in demand for Lyft rides increase tenfold. After all, if you could either support a company that is riddled with scandals and uncertainties, or one that has decided to help all of humanity, which would you choose? Lyft’s answer may not be the one to save the planet from an impending apocalypse, but it certainly is a step in the right direction, bigger than anyone else is taking.
Emma Hungaski is the associate opinion editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.