I had to get back to our new SF office after a meeting, and instead of taking a cab, I decided to try Lyft. One the way over to the meeting, I had taken an Uber car that my colleague Adam ordered from his phone, making it a "taxi-free" day.
This was my first time trying Lyft. I submitted a request for a pickup using the iPhone app and was told "Romeo will arrive in 9 minutes." Funny enough, this was also Romeo's first day as a Lyft driver. So we had a great convo about what the experience was like for both me, and him, as first timers. Lyft drivers are the ones with pink moustaches on their cars. Here's what Romeo's car looks like:
I took a video as I used Lyft for the first time. Here's what my experience was like:
Romeo asked me if I wanted bottled water, or any snacks. And sure enough, he had his glove compartment stuffed with all sorts of things, including Lindt Truffles. Not a bad way to ride. Lyft is based on a donation platform, so at the end of the ride it suggested a price of $9, but I could change it to be more or less (I paid Romeo $15, which is probably what a cab would've cost). Romeo said he doesn't yet know how much he'll make driving for Lyft, but he hopes it's in the range of $20 to $40 per hour. Out of that would come his expenses like gas and car maintenance.
Payments are handled via the Lyft app, so no cash changes hands during the ride, and Lyft then lets both the driver and the passenger rate each other, which is genius because the social pressure of a bad rating keeps donations higher. (Both the driver and rider can see each other's star ratings before they commit to the ride).
It was an awesome experience, especially because my typical experience with SF cabbies is awful -- like this cabbie that refused to pick an old lady up:
I've consistently had terrible experiences with cabs in San Francisco -- just try paying with a credit card (instead of cash) and see what type of reaction you get from a cabbie in this town. And if you want to go from SF over the Bay bridge, good luck. They'll do whatever it takes to kick you out of the cab so they don't have to make that trip. So as far as I'm concerned, a little bit of competition for the cabbies is a good thing.
I highly recommend you give Lyft a try. According to Romeo, it's available in SF, LA and maybe Austin. I'd love to know what you think in the comments below.
Here are some pictures of Romeo giving me a lift, with Lyft, including pictures of his Lindt Truffle goodie bag!
Such a good review about lift! That's the disadvantages when you are riding a taxi, some of the taxi drivers take advantage and choose their passengers and rides. By the way, that Lyft driver seems so friendly.
Here's a GREAT piece in Priceonomics that almost makes me feel bad for taxi drivers. It speaks to the disruption that companies like Lyft are causing.
I'm actually going int o 1410Q tomorrow to do my "SideCar U" training/orientation so I can be a SideCar driver. From what I've seen from the two companies, looks to be the EXACT same thing. I'm actually not even interested in the money (though that can't hurt) ... I just think it'll be a cool way to maybe get out of the house on the weekend when we'd probably just be sitting around watching TV anyway. My wife loves here "Me Time" so we'll get our own version of that. My main draw is I'm quite confident I'll meet some really interesting (and potentially well-connected) people in and around DC who are such early adopters to a brand new service.
And, YES, absolutely give ALL cab drivers as MUCH competition as possible. You know, Daniel, that they're just as bad -- if not WORSE -- here in DC.
I needed to get from our office at 153 Townsend St over to Kicklabs at 181 Fremont St. In the elevator on the way down, some colleagues suggested I try Uber.
I'd ridden in their pedicabs at SXSW and figured, why not, so I installed the Uber iPhone app and asked for a driver.
Sofian showed up 4 minutes later in a cream colored Lincoln Town Car (the only cream colored executive sedan in the Uber fleet, he proudly informed me). He was super professional and friendly. The ride cost me $20 -- about 4 times what a cab ride would've cost, so as a cash conscious startup founder I won't be using Uber on a daily basis, but when it's raining out and I can't find a regular cab, or if I'm with clients, then no question, Uber is awesome. And Sofian said he exclusively gives rides through Uber, meaning the startup has uncovered an AirBnB-like way to create entirely new type of taxi-plus type service. Very impressive.
A few weeks prior I was at an airport, desperate for something to eat. I got a poor quality sandwich at an above average price. I paid, and it served its purpose: to make me stop feeling starving.
When I visited Haiti I was staying with a couch surfer. My bus arrived just as dark was rolling in. I had my host's phone number, but I didn't have a usable phone. I was the only tourist on the bus (meaning the only white person), and I hadn't heard anyone else speak English. A cabbie spoke in broken English to get me to ride in his cab.
"Can I use your phone?"