Put your Money Where Your Heart Is: Get on the Lyft Train
“Yeah, so Uber just sent something out to all its drivers that if you want to continue to drive for them, you can’t sue them.” So says my Lyft driver last week in L.A., just the first of many in a weekendlong experiment that added to my growing suspicion that Uber was a member of the evil oligarchy. As a supporter of the worker and a lifelong enemy of “The Man;” a freelancing dilettante with a lifelong dream of popping heavy-handed self-fellating executive blowhards mid-lecture; as such a person, I arrived at the conclusion, after a weekend of traversing America’s most sprawling metropolis, that it’s time to refer to getting an app-provided ride as Lyfting.
Uber: First to the Party, First To Make a Foul
When Uber first splashed on the scene, it revolutionized public travel. Sure, there were complaints that it was going to ruin taxi drivers. Bummer for London, where the drivers are absolute masters of their city’s streets. But in New York, I would get in a cab and ask for a ride to the legendary White Horse, or seemingly almost any hotel, and would get blank stares, get “How do you get there?” questions that as a professional driver they should know. Even more, taxi drivers started jumping to Uber because they received more money that they did at the taxi company. It seemed that perhaps the only people really complaining were the overlords. Okay. I could get behind that.
But now Uber has been taking on the same behaviors as the overlords they usurped. The Uber drivers we rode with seemed disgruntled. The first Lyft driver we went with explained why.
“I used to drive with Uber. But every day they have some new rule, some new contract you have to sign. Lyft pays a little better too.”
I’d heard the complaints about Uber not paying enough. And then all the recent issues with sexual harassment, an aggro corporate culture, and the CEO recently got into it insulting one of his drivers.
“I think it’s just the difference of the two companies too,” another Lyft driver told me. “Uber has this big aggressive logo and Lyft, it’s pink, it’s chill, it’s the alternative, it just seems to be more of a fit for my lifestyle.” This driver is a producer and editor who, between gigs, drives to keep some cash in his pocket. The real American dream in action.
“I think a lot of the Uber drivers are taxi drivers driving in their free time and, like, you know how sometimes taxi drivers are just like, I don’t know. Not very personable?” I did know. I’ve had a lot of horribly uncomfortable cab rides, sure. Later he offered restaurant recommendations, if we wanted any. And he was cool if we didn’t.
Now Uber is getting a permit for self-driving cabs . So after building their name and money on freelance labor, they’re already looking to drop those people without any recourse. And unfortunately, since we’ve made Uber into a verb, it’ll be tough to unseat them. But we have the power. It’ll just take some doing.
Lyft Blowing Up
We deserve alternatives. And the time has passed when we can claim to just have beliefs. Today we need to have convictions. We can’t say, “I, like, think that the working man and woman needs her fair share and shouldn’t have to deal with denigrating self-important assholes who make more in a day than their workers make in a year but, like, it’s just easier to keep doing what I’m doing and I’m not going to let my, like, politics get in the way of the business I do or the stuff I buy.”
It’s time to assess everything we purchase and support. If companies don’t uphold our values, we shouldn’t support that company. Every Lyft ride we took felt like we were riding with a friend. They let you control the radio, offer you an iPhone charger, shoot the shit about life and movies and hustlin’. Maybe that’s different in other cities but I don’t think so; I think that’s part of their culture. Don’t you want to support your friends?
Lyft is making it easier for you, too. They just got into 100 cities and are looking to expand quickly. So drop that Uber app. Get to Lyfting. And let your beliefs dictate the people you give money for rides.
So I’m just gonna replace the verb “to Uber” with the verb “to Lyft.” And continue reassessing how and who I support with my hard-earned cashish. Revolution comes in all forms. But the most tangible way to create a revolution is with our pockets.