For many students, the words “Uber,” “Lyft” and “Sidecar” mean little, but the long-term savings they accumulate for car-less students who choose these transportation apps instead of traditional cabs are truly substantial. These lower-cost transport alternatives consistently charge less than taxis for the same distance.
Competing mobile transport apps include Flywheel and Taxi Magic, both of which work by connecting app users to conventional cab companies. With a credit or debit card number, a smartphone in most cases and perhaps a Facebook profile, you can find yourself on the go in a matter of minutes, with no cash in hand necessary!
Here’s the lowdown on each of these apps, based on my personal experience, for the time-starved Mojo reader.
Are you gearing up for your bike ride to school but notice that your bike is looking a little “tyred” lately? Bike puns aside, maybe you ought to stop by the UCLA bike pit stop this week for some complimentary bike service.
The pit stops, which can be found at different locations in Westwood throughout the week (see below), offer refreshments, free bike gear and information, as well as bike tune-ups, courtesy of the UCLA Community Bike Center. It is one of many biker-friendly events taking place for the annual Bike to Campus Week.
“We just wanted to show a little TLC to the bike community,” said Michael King, a transportation planner for the UCLA Transportation.
More than 40 people checked in to the pit stop for repairs Tuesday, King said.
UCLA alumnus David Duong noticed the pit stop on his morning ride to work, and the mechanics fixed his derailleurs (for any non-bikers, it is basically the part of the bike that helps switch gears). Duong commutes every day from his home in Santa Monica to his job in the marketing department at the UCLA Anderson School of Business. He said he decided to start biking to work when gas became too pricey. The ride to UCLA is quick and enjoyable, he said. He carries only a backpack with his business suit tucked inside.
Most of the bikers that stopped by had bikes that needed minimal repairs, such as Duong’s derailleur issue, said bike mechanic and third-year geography student Sophia Forde.
For bikes that needed more intensive repairs, Forde recommended bike owners to the UCLA Community Bike Center, located in the John Wooden Center. The shop conducts full service of bikes and also provides tools for students who want to work on their bikes for free.
Bikers, make sure to stop by the remaining pit stops this week:
Wednesday, 8:30-10:30 a.m. at Tiverton Dental in front of the School of Dentistry
Here’s how it works: you connect to the site through Facebook, set up a profile and create a “circle,” or you and your five closest friends. Then you “plan a drink” with your circle. You can also see what other outings friends are planning and request to join them.
The idea was developed by New Jersey natives Josh Israel, 25, and Devin Serago, 26, who both gave up six-figure salary jobs last year to travel to Los Angeles and start the project. The project is funded by Start Engine, a Westwood-based company that invests in new startup projects and mentors startup business leaders.
“We were working corporate jobs, wearing suits and dealing with 16-17 work days,” said Israel. “Then this idea came along that we were just so passionate about and we had to act on it.”
Israel and Serago said they both noticed that current dating sites did not match up with the lifestyle of the 21 to 25 year-old age group.
“There just weren’t any sites that catered to our dating life, which basically revolves around going out with buddies and meeting people at the bar,” Israel said.
Plan A Drink is meant to serve the early-twenties crowd. In a way, it’s kind of a group dating site. But Israel said he often hesitates to call it that.
“Labeling it a dating site can sometimes turn people off,” said Israel. Although it can help expand the dating pool, he added, the site is ultimately about making it easier to plan drinks with friends and meet new people.
Third-year economics student Luis Mendoza is currently working as an intern for Plan A Drink. He said he’s developing a more nuanced understanding of how to establish a successful startup.
“I’m definitely learning that I want to follow the ‘create your own business’ path,” said Mendoza. The idea of developing his own company is far more appealing than working in investment banking, he said.
Workers could be seen tearing long strips of lumber off the roof of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house early Monday afternoon as demolition began on the structure.
Victor Mendez, superintendent of the demolition of the property for Blackstone Builders Inc., said the team expected to finish the demolition in two weeks, first by salvaging lumber and then by tearing down the building itself.
Although the project was originally slated to begin several weeks after the fraternity’s suspension from campus for “risk management” violations in August of last year, there had been no steps toward demolition until Monday.
“Getting something built in California is difficult, and getting something built in West Los Angeles in the recession is near impossible,” said Jeremy Tillman, a 1999 UCLA and Phi Kappa Psi alumnus.
Time spent coordinating with local community groups and the area’s complex construction rules, coupled with detailed consideration of design of the new building — which includes a 28-spot ground floor parking lot below a four-story house — delayed the start of the project, Tillman said.
The fraternity is set to return to campus in 2014 with a new house funded by an expected $5 million in alumni donations. As of March 16, $3.6 million had been raised, Tillman said.
“We want to give back to the fraternity that gave us so much as alumni,” Tillman said.