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!