Lyft: Better than the Taxi

I had used Lyft a few times with a couple of failures. I will go into that later. I used the service when either bus or walking was going to be too much on me physically. Because of my income, I can’t rely on lyft even for a semi-regular service. I had only used Lyft to return home from when I went to my brother’s for one reason or another. The service is a service with the use of an App to request service, rate, and provide other information. There was a time where the app wasn’t working properly on my Nexus 5, but with a recent update, this has been solved (so it seems).

The Good

In Pittsburgh, Yellow Cab drivers are contractors. They pay a vehicle fee based on 8 hour shifts, and from there – they pick up passengers as they see fit. This seems to not be an issue until practice is with less than preferred conditions. There’s been times where my brother tried to get a Cab from my place to home. Being only a 2 hour trip – it would take hours for a driver to take the call if one even takes the call at all. Because of this, my brother has a few times lied to say his destination was the Airport. While this might be unethical – so is not doing one’s job.

With Lyft, the driver typically accepted the request in a few moments and was there in 10 or less. They drove to the destination and charged less than what the cab company would have (in most cases – by half). This is of course during non-Primetime where Lyft increases the rates to encourage drivers to get on the service.

The Bad

There is no rate calculator. I should be able to use my current location, enter a destination, and find out what the rate would be. You would think a service that requires an app to be used to call a vehicle will have a rate calculator. An while I could understand the idea of Prime-time – it is a bit unfair for those on a low budget, and there is no real set rules of when Primetime can occur (it is condition based) which means if someone is relying on Lyrft, and low income, they are pretty much SOL.

Next, while I am sure they can’t require it – they need to find a way of allowing pet owners and drivers that will take pets to connect. They have a switch for those that use a wheelchair to notify the driver. A similar thing could be done for dogs, and cats. This way, the driver can know if pets are to be transported and make that decision to take the request or not. This should be relatively easy to do. At this time, I have to make a request, someone has to take the request, and I have to call that person (hoping they will answer) and inform them I have pets to see if they will still take it. If not, they will cancel the request, and I will have to do it all over again. Especially in cities where public transportation is important in that city, an alternative for pet owners is needed, and addressing this feature can go a long way of making the app extremely better for pet owners. It is this way of handling pets that has caused Lyft to loose a trip with me.

The Ugly

For login, there is Facebook, and there is your phone number. There is no other option of credentials. While this may seem to make sense, I am weary about Facebook having my credit card information. Yes, I just used my phone number, and set everything up – but what if I should have to change my phone number? Using my Google Voice number is not an option. Next, it will be nice if they supported Google Wallet. This is an option for those without a credit card (for whatever the reason). My brother for example could not have used the service because a credit card is required and he has Google Wallet, but at the time no credit card number. He now has a Google Wallet Card, but this seems to a lot of work to use Lyft.

My Thoughts

Definitely better than taxi system (as for Pittsburgh Pennsylvania). It is not perfect, and the service has a lot to improve on as I mentioned with my biggest gripes. However, the service is capable, and I have benefited from it. In the end, it is a glorified Jitney service, and this is where the problems lie. Taxi Cab Companies have always claimed that Jitney services are dangerous, as you don’t know who you are in the car with. One would assume that Lyft (and competitor Uber) does background checks on the drivers. Within the app, you get the name of the driver, a photo of the driver, and type of vehicle being used. And now, for a little self promotion. Visit http://www.lyft.com/invited/frank2421 to get a $25 credit towards the first ride. Obviously, Lyft as to serve your area.

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