Before Uber and Lyft came around I would do pretty much anything to avoid taking a taxi. My friends and I would walk to the bars, bike to the bars, hitch rides with our parents, etc. Basically we tried to avoid taxis at all costs and on those rare occasions when we did have to take a cab, I’d say there was a 50/50 chance of something going horribly wrong. Most of the time it was us realizing we didn’t have any cash, taking too long to get into the cab and getting yelled at or the driver taking us on some circuitous route to get to our destination.
But there weren’t a whole lot of options back then and by back then, I mean just a few years ago. Especially living in a place like Southern California with very little public transportation, you either walked, took a cab or stayed at home and sat on your ass. I actually remember the first time I tried Car2go in San Diego a couple years ago and it was freaking awesome. I now had a cheap one way solution to get to the bars or meet up with friends and I would only have to pay a taxi for one way. Take that taxi companies.
Beginnings of Lyft and UberX
I first heard about Uber from my friends who were using it all the time up in Los Angeles. They were kind of fancy pants so they liked taking black cars and things like that, I was way too cheap for that but then Lyft popped up and later on UberX. I heard about Lyft early on and once it took off in San Diego I started taking it everywhere.
My friends thought it was hilarious that we could get picked up in a pink mustache and get dropped off by some guy wearing a Hawaiian shirt (shout out to my first Lyft driver ever, Boysan in SD!). The cost was also very attractive since it was by far the cheapest option to get around and it made all the money we spent on drinks at the bar seem like not such a bad investment anymore.
My Advice For Drivers
One alarming trend I’ve noticed lately though is the number of drivers who have never taken a Lyft or Uber before. That would be like coaching a basketball team but never having shot a basketball. I understand that some people (including me!) don’t like to go out as much as they used to but in order to be a top notch driver you have to understand the platform you’re working with. Lyft and Uber are becoming more and more main stream as evidenced by the shear variety of passengers that I pick up. It’s not just young people wanting to go to the bars anymore.
TNC’s are now a viable option for people going to work, getting to/from the airport and many other unique situations that might leave you carless. I know some drivers are content with the way things are but if you want to be the best at what you do you have to go above and beyond to understand the passenger experience. This feedback obviously benefits Lyft but it also makes you a better driver.
By taking a ride as a passenger, you might find out a lot about your own driving skills that you never would have guessed. I know that when I first started driving, I would kind of bombard the passenger with requests: Do you want some gum? Do you want some water? What radio station do you like?
It wasn’t until I rode with someone who did the same thing that I realized how annoying it is. Now I ease into the conversation and slowly offer things if the passenger seems like they might appreciate it. Who knows how long I would have gone on doing those annoying things if I didn’t take Lyft as a passenger?
If you’d like to support the site, please use one of the referral links below to sign up as a passenger:
- Lyft: Get up to $25 off your first ride as a passenger
- Uber: Get $30 off your first Uber ride when you sign up as a passenger.
- Sidecar: Get $10 when you sign up for Sidecar as a passenger.
So there you have it, my advice is pretty simple. If you care about being the best at what you do, it’s imperative that you take a ride with Uber, Lyft or even Sidecar once every few months. It might cost you a few bucks initially but the investment will more than pay for itself later. I think it’s always important to take a step back and look at the big picture, small sacrifices today usually pay big dividends down the road.
Readers, what do you think about taking Lyft or Uber as a passenger? Is it worth the money to stay up to date on the passenger experience? I bet if taxi drivers rode in a taxi they would have changed things a long time ago.
-The Rideshare Guy