If you live in a bigger city or in Orlando, you’ve probably heard of Lyft by now. Or at least Uber. For those of you who haven’t, just know it’s kind of like a ride-share app that connects people who want to drive people around with people who want to be driven around, and kind of like a taxi. (But shhhh, taxi is a four-letter word in this community.)
They just entered the Orlando market and offered everyone who signed up in the first week with them being here 50 free $25 rides to be used within two weeks. Uber had done the same, and while I signed up with them, for some reason I never used their service. And then when Lyft came in I figured I just had to give it a try to see what the fuss was about.
I’m hooked. (Finish reading this blog post and you could be, too.)
I started using it last Tuesday because I needed to go downtown to a meeting and parking in the middle of the day there is annoying. And then I used it that evening when I had another meeting downtown. And then after the meeting I took another one to dinner! And then on Friday, my family and I took it to dinner, then to drinks, and then to dancing. And then on Saturday, we went to a charity event down by the mouse and took it. And, since it was a longer drive, the cost was well over the $25 in which we had to pay the difference. So instead of heading straight home after the event, we stopped mid-stream and used the savings to buy ourselves a glass of wine. :)
But aren’t you worried about the kinds of people picking you up??? I have met some really, really nice people who are driving for Lyft. Everyone kind of has to be because they’re rated as drivers and then the drivers also rate the passengers! (I have 5 out of 5 stars still, by the way.) So no one can be mean or they get dinged. Everyone is using it as a second job because their firsts either are sporadic because of the industry they’re in, or are just looking for more extra income. One guy has a pretty decent full time salaried job, but has a baby on the way, so he’s going to be doing BOTH Uber and Lyft until December 25th (the due date… and Christmas.)
When a person wants to be a part of Lyft, they apply online and are then given a choice of Mentors to meet up with to have the driving interview, paperwork filled out for the background check, pictures of them and their car taken for the app, and the car inspected. A difference between Uber and Lyft is that for Uber all of the background and interview is done all online, and then Uber sends the driver a phone to use and they’re good to go. Lyft drivers use their own phones. And Lyft cars are allowed to be as old as a 2000 (hence the inspection) and Uber requires a 2006 or younger. I’ve ridden in a 2013 Prius, a Mercedes SUV, and another nice looking SUV that I can’t recall the make or model of, but it was nice – it had two moon roofs. All owned by the drivers.
I’ve heard that they’re not covered by insurance policies and you take it at your own risk. Is that true? Nope. Not true at all. Lyft touts on their website that they cover each driver while they’re on shift and covers the passenger with a million dollar policy. I asked one of the Uber/Lyft combo drivers about Uber and he showed me the insurance policy he accessed from the app. It also covers up to a million dollars but only while a passenger is in the car. So, it’s actually safer to catch a lift with an Uber or Lyft driver than have one of your friends with a questionable amount of insurance drive you around for a night on the town.
The inside scoop.
On the last ride for the night on Friday, we had a very well-informed driver. He is actually a manager who helped open the Orlando market and has to take as many passengers as possible to help train the passengers on how to use the service. He told me the ins and outs of how Lyft always comes in a month after Uber and then Side Car always comes a month after that. We discussed the differences and similarities between all of the services and how they market themselves differently. It’s an exciting time in the transportation business. I had first thought I wanted my blog post to be about the controversy between the big taxi dawg in town (they who will not be named) but I decided to keep this topic light, fresh, and fun, which is really the essence of what Lyft is. If you are interested in trying Lyft out, download the app to your phone from your app store. But before you take your first ride, go to the payment section of the app and plug in patti301 (that’s a zero) into the “credit code” box. You’ll get a free ride up to $25, and once you redeem it, I will too!
Me playing in the back seat of the Lyft car with the iconic Lyft mustache.