Lyft has followed Uber in making it crystal clear that its drivers need to accommodate riders with service animals. As a driver, you cannot refuse service to someone because they are accompanied by a service animal. Uber made you agree to their service animal policy when you logged into the Driver app. Lyft sent out an email to its drivers that explained the policy.
Here’s the meat of the email:
Neither Lyft or Uber is doing anything outrageous here. It appears they’re just following federal law, specifically, the Americans with Disabilities Act. That said, I do think some people abuse the law and pretend their pet dog is their service animal, that their pet dog assists them in some way. You see people in stores with dogs all the time that are not trained service animals. I was at Home Depot a month or so ago and a young woman had a pit bull with her. The dog was not trained in any way. She could not control it. I’m sure the employees at Home Depot have been trained not to challenge anyone when they’re accompanied by a dog, no matter how ridiculous it looks.
I’m not a dog person. Not really. It’s not that I hate dogs. I just don’t like animals that bark, growl, or bite. It just so happens that dogs bark, growl, and bite. Dogs kill people all the time.
That doesn’t mean I would ever refuse a rider who was accompanied by a dog, whether it was a service animal or not a service animal. I drove an Uber passenger down to Washington D.C. a while back who was accompanied by his cocker spaniel and it was one of the best rides I ever had. The dog was a total gentleman. He didn’t bark, growl, or bite me, so I had no problems with him. If all dogs were like cocker spaniels, I would probably be a dog person.
I had my first experience driving for Lyft yesterday. I’ve tried to drive for the alternative to Uber for a while now, but I’ve never had any requests. I pulled up the app yesterday and in Rider mode – Lyft uses the same app for both rider and driver – I saw that to get a driver to my location, it would take 16 minutes. This told me there weren’t any Lyft drivers in the Hagerstown area. I switched to Driver mode and almost immediately got a request.
Lyft vs. Uber
One thing I noticed right off the bat was that Lyft doesn’t offer its own navigation system. When choosing to navigate to your rider, Lyft asks if you want to use Google Maps or Waze. I know from driving with Uber, Waze is not an app for me. It routinely displays ads on the screen that take over the navigation window. I’ll have a passenger in the back and I’m driving to their location. Waze will suddenly display an ad for Sheetz and ask me if I want to reroute to a Sheetz located in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania to buy some French fries.
I don’t like French fries.
I don’t like going to Waynesboro or Pennsylvania.
I selected Google Maps to route me to the rider. When I got to the location, I saw a woman standing in front of the address smoking and talking on the phone. As I pulled up, she started smoking faster, as though she wanted to finish her cigarette before getting in the car. I hate when riders do this. They usually always reek of cigarette smoke and the odor tends to stay in the car long after they get out. Not only did she smell like pre-lung cancer, she was wearing a massive amount of perfume. It was like the two obnoxious smells were battling for olfactory domination. As far as I was concerned, they were both winning and I was losing.
I had to exit out of Google Maps to begin the drive. With Uber, I don’t have to do that. Since she was talking on the phone, I didn’t even try to engage in small talk. As soon as she ended the call, it sounded like she got a text. She then got another call. I normally ask passengers where they’re going but since she was busy talking and texting, I didn’t want to intrude. I decided to just allow Google Maps take me to her destination.
When we were almost at her destination, I had to break my silence and ask her which side of the road she wanted to be dropped off at. The pin marking her destination was smack center in the middle of the road. She responded by telling me she didn’t know, she was new to Hagerstown. I asked her where she was going, something I should have asked at the very beginning. She told me she was going to 7-11.
We were actually heading away from the closest 7-11. I told her this and turned around. She asked if it was far. I told her that it wasn’t. About a minute later, I pulled into the parking lot at 7-11 and my very first Lyft trip was completed.
As I expected, the car still smelled of perfume and cigarettes. I opened all the windows and drove around a bit, hoping it would air out. I think that worked. I won’t know for certain until I get in the car today. It might take a heavy dosing of Febreeze to eradicate the smell entirely. It wouldn’t be the first time I had to use Febreeze because of a passenger. I should have just Febreezed the backseat last night when the day was over.
I tried to get another request for Lyft, but I didn’t get any requests. By this time it was after 5:00 PM, within the timeframe Lyft told me in a prior email demand was going to be high in western Maryland.
This morning I got an email from Lyft showing what I did yesterday.
Lyft took 25 percent. How does that compare to Uber? Here’s an Uber trip from last Thursday:
The time was about the same, but the distance was far greater. Uber took $6.10 meaning they also took 25 percent.
Not only was yesterday’s drive my first with Lyft, it will be my last, at least for the foreseeable future. I see no reason to drive for Lyft instead of Uber. Here in the Hagerstown area, people are much more into using Uber. It’s been here for a while now. People in Hagerstown know about Uber. I don’t think they even know that Lyft is now in Hagerstown.
The rider I got yesterday said she was new to Hagerstown. She must have been a Lyft user before coming to Hagerstown.
I don’t even want to know why she wanted to go to a 7-11 across town. There was a 7-11 much closer to where I picked her up. Since she didn’t know where the 7-11 was, I don’t think she had ever been there before.
Lyft, the ridesharing alternative to Uber, is now available in the city of Hagerstown. This means that if you need a ride to Walmart, the Valley Mall, or anywhere else, you can utilize the services of Lyft. Even if you need a ride to Baltimore or Washington DC, you can now take a Lyft to your destination.