If there’s one good thing that came out of the pandemic, it would be Lyft’s decision to eliminate shared ride requests. Truth be told, they sucked and should’ve been done away with long before the evolution of Covid-19.
Ultimately, shared rides worked out for everyone but the actual owners of the vehicles, who are literally the “Driving Force” behind the whole operation. On countless occasions, I’ve had to cramp multiple strangers in my car for trips that weren’t even always going in the same direction.
The company got their percentage and the passengers got to their destinations. However, all I got in return was a few measly bucks and more mileage added to my dashboard.
Times are hard, so everyone’s looking for a break. I get it.
Still, if someone’s on a budget and needs to share a ride, I honestly feel like the best option would be for them to take the local transit bus. The fact of the matter is, people are already getting service at a discounted rate by using Lyft as opposed to a regular cab company. Needless to say, these companies, charge a hell of a lot more and don’t stop to pick up random strangers along the way.
Aside from the fact that shared rides were just another way for Lyft to profit while shortchanging drivers, they were extremely uncomfortable, annoying, and at times problematic.
I’ve had some of the most peculiar experiences while on the road doing shared rides.
I’ll never forget the time I had to pick up a gentleman with an extremely foul body odor for a ride I was already doing with two other passengers on board.
It was a hot summer day and I was forced to keep the windows rolled up in order to maintain the flow of cool air. It felt as if the hairs in my nose were practically curling from this man’s smell. I couldn’t help but think, not only is this guy cheap and inconsiderate, but clearly dealing with a hygiene issue as well.
Perhaps one of my most memorable experiences was the time I had to unfortunately pull over and ask an older white woman to exit my vehicle.
It was an airport pickup during the wee hours of the morning and I’m assuming she didn’t expect for other people to be traveling so early. Much to her surprise, I had to stop not once, but twice as the GPS navigated me through some of the roughest parts of the city.
Shortly after I’d picked up the additional passengers, which happened to be two other young black men, a commercial for racial injustice started playing in the background as we were driving. Out of nowhere, the woman balled up her fist and started banging on my seat, commanding me to turn down a street that I was honestly already getting ready to turn down in the first place.
I don’t know if it was the public service announcement on the radio or the mere presence of being surrounded by black men, but she’d become extremely irate in just a matter of seconds. Feeling confused and partially threatened, I advised her that she would have to calm down or get out if she didn’t stop.
After she insisted that she’d walk the rest of the way, I pulled over and allowed her to retrieve her bags from my trunk.
Let’s be very clear, three young black men riding around in a car with an older white woman is nothing but a recipe for disaster. If anything would’ve happened, it would’ve been our word against hers and more than likely, authorities would’ve taken her side. It really wouldn’t have even been worth the trouble or the couple of dollars I was being paid to do the ride.
For the record, most drivers are struggling just as much as the passengers they transport. Shared rides were low paying and made it just that much harder to earn money that’s already desperately needed.
Now that certain restrictions are being lifted, one can only hope that Lyft doesn’t have any plans on reverting back to their old ways.