Paid rideshare – what is it and how can you use it?

Chris handHave you heard about companies like Uber or Lyft, but you’re not sure how they work? Are you wondering about the requirements the drivers of these paid rideshare companies have to go through to be qualified to drive you around? Are you interested in driving for a company like Uber or Lyft and wonder what is required of you? The Iowa Department of Transportation has a new webpage that helps explain these and other questions about this growing transportation option.

According to the Iowa DOT’s website,  “A rideshare company is a corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, or other entity that operates in this state and uses a digital network (an online enabled app, internet site, or system offered by a rideshare company) to connect riders to drivers who use their personal vehicles to provide prearranged rides for a fare. Iowa law calls rideshare companies ‘transportation network companies.’”

As a transportation option, these paid rideshare companies must follow certain laws and rules set out by the Iowa Legislature and the Iowa DOT. They must have permission to operate in Iowa and follow all requirements found in Iowa Code 321N. This includes requirements every company needs to address to get a permit, including background checks on drivers to make paid rideshares as safe as they are convenient.

Chris Little
Chris Little

Chris Little, with the Iowa DOT’s Motor Vehicle Division, said, “We want people to be comfortable with the rideshare concept and work to protect their safety when they use rideshare companies. We really kept those two concepts in mind as we were drafting the rules that complemented the code passed by the Iowa Legislature.”

One of the requirements is that the company must reapply for a permit every year. They must also follow certain rules of operation. If you have a complaint against a paid rideshare company, the Iowa DOT will investigate and may suspend or revoke a permit if necessary. The complaint process and contact information is listed on the Iowa DOT’s paid rideshare website. Little says the Iowa DOT also has the authority to do spot inspections and audits of the companies as needed.

Several Iowa cities are now served by the paid rideshare companies and they are continually expanding their operations to new locations. You can check the app or the companies’ websites to find a list the cities in which they currently operate. 

Rideshare basics


I wanted to drive for UBER but was told by my insurance company if they found out I was doing that they would cancel my vehicle insurance. So much for being able to make any extra $$.

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