Driver brings Lyft rides to Sidney

By Patricia Ann Speelman -

Cy Baber, of Sidney, with his Lyft vehicle.

Cy Baber, of Sidney, with his Lyft vehicle.

Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

SIDNEY — There’s a new way to get around in Sidney — and elsewhere.

Cy Baber, of Sidney, has become a Lyft driver. Lyft is a ride-sharing company that operates online. Would-be riders can download an app and log into to it to summon a driver right then or up to seven days in advance.

The app will ask the rider for his location and the address of where he wants to go. Then the rider will see how long it will take for a driver to get to him, what kind of car the driver has and a photo of the driver. The rider will also see a one- to five-star rating that other riders have given the driver. The rider can then accept that ride or request a different driver.

Payment is made by credit card, which is put on file when the app is downloaded. Tips can be made through the credit card or in cash.

Baber has been driving for the company for about two months. He signed on after friends suggested he try it.

“Rob and Toni Thorne (of Sidney) mentioned Lyft to me. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be doing this,” he said.

Baber applied online to drive and had to pass two background checks before Lyft added him to area drivers.

He has made it a point to make himself available to tavern patrons on the weekends who appreciate not having to drive home. He also has picked up riders in Lima. As for destinations, they have been near and far. He’ll take people across town or across the state.

“I picked up a family at a local motel. They were from India and were visiting. I took them to the Detroit airport. I took people to the Ohio State game in Columbus on Saturday,” he said.

Baber drives a 2014 Ford Explorer. Riders can submit comments through the Lyft app. The comments are forwarded weekly to drivers as kudos.

“I’ve had (a lot) of kudos this week, which is really cool,” Baber said. “People say Lyft is better than a taxi or a bus because they know who’s coming and when. With Lyft, you can go where you want.”

If a rider near Baber opens the app and requests a ride, Baber gets a tone on his phone.

“I have 10 seconds to respond. When the person accepts my ride, they get a photo of me and what my car is,” he said. They also get an estimate of what the fare will be.

Baber is a former truck driver who also has a portrait photography business.

“I love (driving for Lyft),” he said. “I haven’t had a bad passenger. They’ve all been good. This isn’t about my doing Lyft. It’s about the rider. It’s about having this in the community, and they can count on me if they need a ride.”

Cy Baber, of Sidney, with his Lyft vehicle. Baber, of Sidney, with his Lyft vehicle. Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

By Patricia Ann Speelman

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.