My Experience with Lyft


By SFace   Follow   Mon, 19 Nov 2012, 3:53pm   4,984 views   38 comments
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So me and my wife decided to try Lyft after a dinner night out at Mission District. (impossible to park)

We loaded the the lyft app previously, posted the the address and time and within 1 mins, two cars were spotted to be available. One was a Lexus driven by a mid 20's guy with his picture (with great reviews). We thought he was going to USF to pay for his 50K tuition. We acceped and looked for the pink mustache and the car. The GPS tracked where the car was so there was no doubt it was coming. Greeted with a fist pump, yes it is us.

As it turns out, he was a USF student paying crazy tuition, long chat short, our suggsted donation was $12, we paid $15 for what would be normally a $20 cab ride before tips. The suggested donation is probabaly work around the car for hire rule legally.

This is application of modern technology. I'm not sure why medallion cabs can't do the same thing but here was a case where application of technology works and I would likely reuse. The experience is off the charts and we felt comfortable. Also, I rather support a college kid then the semi cab fraternity.

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  1. EBGuy


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    1   4:44pm Mon 19 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    We've briefly discussed Lyft before on Pat.net. For those who need to get up to speed on what SFace is talking about:
    The state Public Utilities Commission last week fined each of the companies $20,000, saying they are operating illegally and in violation of previously issued "cease-and-desist" orders. The PUC says the ride services haven't obtained the proper permits to run their businesses, which give consumers the power to quickly arrange rides "on demand" through apps on their smartphones. Uber, SideCar and Zimride's mobile app service, called Lyft, are appealing the fines and vow to continue operating.

    SFace, thanks for posting your first hand account.

  2. Patrick


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    2   4:54pm Mon 19 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (6)   Dislike   Protected  

    BTW, their website is http://lyft.me/ (Not .com.)

    The fines are clearly an example of "regulatory capture", where laws are used to prevent free-market competition.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulatory_capture

    Lyft seems like a good idea to me, so I think we should protest how regulation is being used to stifle innovation here.

  3. Patrick


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    3   6:38pm Mon 19 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (4)   Dislike   Protected  

    Screw the medallion program. It's just another way to prevent competition and charge the public more for the same service.

    There is one taxi regulation I would like though: the exact price to the destination should be explicitly quoted when you enter the cab.

  4. Patrick


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    4   9:37pm Mon 19 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (5)   Dislike   Protected  

    The trick of using regulation to stomp out innovation and keep prices high is also routinely used by realtors. For example, realtors tried to shut down FSBO sites by claiming that they need a license even to advertise any property. That was struck down on 1st amendment grounds, but it shows you how low they will go.

  5. marcus


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    5   9:50pm Mon 19 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    In urban areas, Taxi's are a necessity, if one is going to get by without a car. I don't have a problem with the regulations, and don't have an opinion about the price of medallions.

    In major (first world) cities, the cab businesses have evolved over many decades to what for the most part works fairly well. That is having enough cabs to get passengers around, but to also provide a reasonable full time job for a lot of people.

    Patrick says

    The fines are clearly an example of "regulatory capture", where laws are used to prevent free-market competition.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulatory_capture

    Lyft seems like a good idea to me, so I think we should protest how regulation is being used to stifle innovation here.

    I agree that it's a very interesting idea. But I'm not convinced that if it grows a lot that it would be a good thing for either would be passengers in need of a ride, or would be cab drivers in need of a living.

    What if we get just enough part timers doing this to somewhat kill the profitability of being a cab driver or owning a cab company, but not enough people doing it to provide a ride quickly and efficiently when you need one ?

  6. mell


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    6   10:04pm Mon 19 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike  

    marcus says

    In urban areas, Taxi's are a necessity, if one is going to get by without a car. I don't have a problem with the regulations, and don't have an opinion about the price of medallions.

    Have you ever tried to get a cab in San Francisco? Certain neighborhoods are completely cabless and on busy days or during busy hours you can forget about hailing one anywhere and even if you call they sometimes take the next best customer hailing them esp. if they think they might be too late. BS regulations, it's all about the monopoly.

  7. marcus


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    7   10:42pm Mon 19 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    I don't know San Francisco, but Monopoly would imply one cab company or a small number of cab companies.

    I don't think that deregulating it is the way to go. I've been in countries where it's a free for all, and every cab ride is a big negotiation game, and an adventure (I know these apps have reviews etc). MY point isn't about Lyft per se, but I think that it's too easy too assume that taking regulations away s the answer, when often it simply isn't.

  8. Patrick


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    8   9:01am Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike   Protected  

    marcus says

    and every cab ride is a big negotiation game

    That is why the single most important rule should be that they print out the exact price to your destination before you start moving. No argument, just a pre-receipt. "Here's exactly how much it will cost to go from here to there."

  9. mell


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    9   9:14am Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike  

    SFace says

    There is no negotiation. The fares are regulated (determined by a city agency) based on a function of:

    minimum fare + (Distance/Time) + add on (luggage/tolls)

    Yes there is. What you quoted is how it is supposed to be. I don't know how prevalent deviation from that standard (maybe it's the exception) is but I have experienced it on numerous occasions, e.g. negotiating a fixed fare for a longer ride (e.g. to airport) or having them charging more than what was advertised. I don't ride cabs often enough to bother, but it is not all that clear just because a couple of "signs" are posted.

  10. marcus


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    10   9:29am Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    Patrick says

    That is why the single most important rule should be that they print out the exact price to your destination before you start moving. No argument, just a pre-receipt. "Here's exactly how much it will cost to go from here to there."

    The way normal cabs do it is they have set rates for airport and other specific longer rides, but use the meter otherwise. In places where rush our traffic or an accident can make it take twice as long, that's fair. The cab driver has to make a living.

    By the way, I drove a cab for a while a few decades ago (age 20), and it's a tough job. I paid about one third of what drivers pay now, to rent a single shift cab - I had the cab all the time and drove as many hours as I wanted).

    It was hard to do decently without working at least 12 hours a day. It's hard to work more than that, but to do well you needed to. Obviously a lot of the time was spent waiting for the next fare. Especially in the summer.

  11. Patrick


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    11   10:21am Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike   Protected  

    marcus says

    In places where rush our traffic or an accident can make it take twice as long, that's fair. The cab driver has to make a living.

    But the cab drivers know better than anyone else how long any ride will take at any time of day. There are also excellent on-line tools showing current traffic conditions. So cab drivers could do fine quoting the exact price to any destination. They'd lose on rare occasions, but win most of the time.

    marcus says

    Obviously a lot of the time was spent waiting for the next fare.

    If cabs were cheap and easy to get via services like Lyft, people would start to ride them all the time, leaving their cars at home. So you wouldn't be waiting for the next fare very long.

    The attempt to prevent the free market from working (medallions, regulations to prevent innovation) raises prices, makes cabs scarce, and makes the whole experience suck so that most people don't even try to get a cab.

  12. leo707


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    12   10:34am Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    marcus says

    By the way, I drove a cab for a while a few decades ago (age 20), and it's a tough job. I paid about one third of what drivers pay now, to rent a single shift cab - I had the cab all the time and drove as many hours as I wanted).

    I drove a cab at 20 as well. The company took a % of the meter, or a % of the fixed rate airport runs. Also, the dispatcher required a "tip" (or familial relation) if you were going to be sent out on any of the airport runs.

    marcus says

    It was hard to do decently without working at least 12 hours a day. It's hard to work more than that, but to do well you needed to.

    Yep.

    marcus says

    I don't think that deregulating it is the way to go. I've been in countries where it's a free for all, and every cab ride is a big negotiation game, and an adventure (I know these apps have reviews etc).

    Yeah, I have been to those places as well. The free-for-all makes it harder for the drivers to make a decent wage, and makes the street less safe for everyone who has to share the road with a cab drivers rushing to each destination. I don't think that total deregulation is the way to go either.

    How many drivers today could actually afford a medallion of their own (assuming they actually got a chance to buy one). The medallion system is just another way, for those rich enough to buy a medallion, to extract "rent" from the person actually doing the driving.

  13. CaptainShuddup


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    13   10:42am Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    This will all be great until the Craigslist murderous lunatic fringe takes a stab at it. In a highly sensationalized international news story, then that will be the end of that. I wouldn't be surprised if this ends up, even offering someone a ride will be against the law.

  14. leo707


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    14   11:00am Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike  

    CaptainShuddup says

    This will all be great until the Craigslist murderous lunatic fringe takes a stab at it. In a highly sensationalized international news story, then that will be the end of that. I wouldn't be surprised if this ends up, even offering someone a ride will be against the law.

    Actually, --while this is certainly possible-- it is probably less likely with a service like Lyft than a cab.

    Cabs are more anonymous, when you flag down a cab no one other than you and the driver knows that you got into that drivers cab. Cab drivers have been known to kill their fairs.

    With services like Lyft there is a record of who you drove with and when. It would be a lot harder for a Craigslist murderous sociopath to think that they could getaway with anything.

    FYI, this also makes it safer for the driver.

  15. CaptainShuddup


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    15   11:20am Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    leo707 says

    Craigslist murderous sociopath to think that they could getaway with anything.

    Who said anything about getting away with anything. AFAIK, every Craigslist Psychopath has been caught.

  16. leo707


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    16   11:22am Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    CaptainShuddup says

    leo707 says

    Craigslist murderous sociopath to think that they could getaway with anything.

    Who said anything about getting away with anything. AFAIK, every Craigslist Psychopath has been caught.

    Yes, but I would be willing to bet they all thought that they were going to get away with it.

    That is the problem with punishments as a deterrent to crime, they only work if people think they are going to get caught.

  17. zzyzzx


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    17   11:30am Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Patrick says

    If cabs were cheap and easy to get via services like Lyft, people would start to ride them all the time, leaving their cars at home. So you wouldn't be waiting for the next fare very long.

    The attempt to prevent the free market from working (medallions, regulations to prevent innovation) raises prices, makes cabs scarce, and makes the whole experience suck so that most people don't even try to get a cab

    I agree. It's more about generating revenue for the local municipality than anything else.

  18. DukeLaw


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    18   12:47pm Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike  

    NPR interviewed the Sidecar, Uber, and (I think) Lyft folks this morning along with a member of the taxi industry. I think the Sidecar argument that its service is merely carpooling is a stretch especially when folks are specifically driving around for fares (like I've seen with Lyft). Their legal arguments may hold water in a vacuum but I sincerely believe when there is a lawsuit and drivers are deposed, we'll see that a fair number of drivers will be doing this as a full-time job.

  19. leo707


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    19   12:51pm Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    DukeLaw says

    Their legal arguments may hold water in a vacuum but I sincerely believe when there is a lawsuit and drivers are deposed, we'll see that a fair number of drivers will be doing this as a full-time job.

    Not to mention there is probably a shit-load of internal company emails/communications that would tell a different story.

  20. Patrick


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    20   1:47pm Tue 20 Nov 2012   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike   Protected  

    This is probably a good case for "The Institute for Justice":

    http://www.ij.org/

  21. photofreak


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    21   12:12pm Sun 7 Apr 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    I am looking into getting a job as a driver with Lyft it seems like a good job and have an interview on monday. Are there any drivers out there that can answer this question. Is there a drug test. I don't have any illegal drugs in my system but I was a late bloomer and just got my wisdom teeth removed and was on vicodin pretty heavily due to some issues. I am now almost fully recovered and havn't taken the medication for 2 days. I will let them know at the interview but a lot of drug tests are either pass or fail with no details.

  22. APOCALYPSEFUCKisShostikovitch


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    22   1:38pm Sun 7 Apr 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (4)   Dislike  

    Any random driver picked off the street is safer than your average death-wish taxi driver, usually distracted by answering four cell phones to manage taxi, drug trafficking, human trafficking and mattress delivery businesses and often stoned or shitfaced Lyft should run a news crawl of hackney mayhem with stories of taxi drivers madcap criminal adventures.

  23. CaptainShuddup


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    23   6:48am Mon 8 Apr 2013   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)  

    SFace says

    We acceped and looked for the pink mustache and the car.

    I would go all Elaine Benes' dad on the guy, if he pulled up in a car with a pink mustache.

  24. ccosmopolita86


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    24   8:02pm Tue 10 Jun 2014   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    Code: COSTA12 Gets you a free ride up $25! Extra tip: punch in the code on payment screen BEFORE requesting a lyft and it's free :)

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    25   8:23am Thu 12 Jun 2014   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    SFace says

    I'm not sure why medallion cabs can't do the same thing

    In some places, actual cabs do use these services to get clients, yes. Maybe not in the US, but this was mentioned on a TV news story I saw about this last night.

  26. zzyzzx


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    26   8:25am Thu 12 Jun 2014   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    CaptainShuddup says

    This will all be great until the Craigslist murderous lunatic fringe takes a stab at it. In a highly sensationalized international news story, then that will be the end of that.

    May have already happened! At least that was implied on the TV news story I saw about this last night (specifically said "bad things"; no actual murder was mentioned).

  27. Ceffer


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    27   10:34am Thu 12 Jun 2014   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    One problem is the taped whining guilt trips played for Boomer customers by the Mill XY Lyft drivers to extort larger tips.

  28. Philistine


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    28   12:23pm Thu 12 Jun 2014   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Ceffer says

    One problem is the taped whining guilt trips played for Boomer customers by the Mill XY Lyft drivers to extort larger tips.

    Yet this is perhaps--marginally--more acceptable than the TV screen that is blasting commercials at me for the duration of my taxi cab ride.

  29. donjumpsuit


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    29   12:42pm Thu 12 Jun 2014   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Anyone have a brief essay on the difference between Lyft and Uber?

    I have been following these companies closely, then had with a friend had a couple of experiences with Uber and it seemed cool. (Besides the variable/high use time flex pricing, which shouldn't be a problem since they say how much it will be before you hire the car).

    I choose Uber, because it seemed it was separating itself from the pack, also no haggling and can take straight from paypal.

    From what I see here and read, Uber tells you how much you will pay, and with Lyft, you negotiate with the driver in person?

    I'd rather just pay and not deal with any of it (tip included).

  30. SFace


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    30   1:30pm Thu 12 Jun 2014   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike  

    very little difference besides Uber is the bigger fish, they should just merge. It is the ultimate no brainer win-win.

    Maybe you can just get their private #'s and just bypass the middle man fee altogether.

    One of the reasons why the job participation rate is so low is because of self employment opportunities like Uber/Lyft provides.

  31. marcus


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    31   2:46pm Thu 12 Jun 2014   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    I still seriously question whether it would be good for places like New York, Chicago or London, or Vegas, where cabs work great. And I tried to explain why.

    For Los Angeles though, where cabs suck. Lyft can't hurt a system that's already bad, and in a city thats so spread out.

  32. APOCALYPSEFUCKisShostikovitch


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    32   3:27pm Thu 12 Jun 2014   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (3)   Dislike  

    What people want is a rolling bordello with a bar and a mounted Gatling gun. For a negotiated price you jump in a car with an attractive lady relaxing in the nude with her legs crossed behind her head. She offers you a drink. When you're done with the drink and the savage pestorking, you can roll down the window and fire at hippies and homeless people.

    This is how people want to travel.

    They just don't know it yet.

  33. swebb


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    33   8:44pm Thu 12 Jun 2014   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Patrick says

    Screw the medallion program. It's just another way to prevent competition and charge the public more for the same service.

    There is one taxi regulation I would like though: the exact price to the destination should be explicitly quoted when you enter the cab.

    and what if you end up in traffic for an hour on a 1 mile ride? cabbie eats it?

  34. marcus


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    34   7:38am Fri 13 Jun 2014   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)  

    swebb says

    and what if you end up in traffic for an hour on a 1 mile ride? cabbie eats it?

    Patrick's a free market capitalist on this subject. THat side of the equation where people have to make a living driving a cab or driving for Lyft. That side of things just magically takes care of itself.

    There will be so many Lyft drivers (supposedly) out there that you'll be able to get one in five minutes, and yet the number of people using the service won't be able to generate enough rides and business so that all those Lyft drivers that it takes to have them available in 5 minutes can make a living.

    Details.

  35. Blurtman


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    35   7:40am Fri 13 Jun 2014   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Can't we do the same with banking?

  36. The Professor


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    36   8:54am Fri 13 Jun 2014   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike   Protected  

    swebb says

    what if you end up in traffic for an hour on a 1 mile ride?

    Get out and walk!

  37. SFace


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    37   9:24am Fri 13 Jun 2014   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    marcus says

    For Los Angeles though, where cabs suck. Lyft can't hurt a system that's already bad, and in a city thats so spread out.

    You can't have much of a "for hire" market when there are something like 20M registered cars for 20M people.

  38. zzyzzx


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    38   10:56am Fri 13 Jun 2014   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike  

    Blurtman says

    Can't we do the same with banking?

    http://www.prosper.com

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