Thinking of driving for Lyft? Something to first consider

One of the things to consider before driving for Lyft is they have no problem asking you to take trips guaranteed to make you lose money. Case in point, the trip they sent me on the other day.

Lyft sent me 21 miles away to pick up a rider who wanted a ride from his house to a liquor store around the corner. I drove him to the store and waited while he bought beer. He then got back in the car and I drove him back to his house.

The entire round trip from his house, to the liquor store, and back to his house was less than a mile. Lyft was aware of this when they dispatched me to pick up the rider 21 miles away. Riders enter their location and where they want to go when requesting a ride.

Would Uber do this?

Uber handles issues like this differently. If a driver has to drive an extended distance to pick up a rider, they pay the driver for the inconvenience. Lyft doesn’t do this. Considering how Lyft’s business model seems to be based on imitating everything Uber does, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before Lyft starts paying drivers in a similar fashion.

Until they do, don’t allow Lyft to send you far away to pick up a passenger. The only reason I accepted it was because I was worried about my acceptance rating so I’d be eligible for the weekly promotion.

That’s never happing again. Before driving for Lyft, this is something to think about.

My Uber Week in review – July 30 – August 5

I completed my second full week of driving for Uber. When I refer to a full week, I mean Monday through Friday. I even took a Lyft request, doubling my grand total of lifetime Lyft trips to two.

All in all, I had a good week. All of my passengers were pleasant and most seemed to want to talk. I’m always up for conversing, so I like it when passengers want to talk. I met some interesting people with fascinating stories to tell.

Here’s a snapshot of my week:

My Uber Week in review - July 30 - August 5 - Bent Corner

I didn’t have any long trips down to Baltimore (last week I had two), but I still made about what I made last week.

There was one trip that really irritated me. It was nothing the passenger did. It was caused solely by Uber and my stupidity. I was parked near the Valley Mall waiting for a passenger request. It had been slow all day and it was hotter outside than Satan’s armpit. After a long wait, I was finally sent a request and without fully looking at it, I accepted it. Big mistake.

My Uber Week in review - July 30 - August 5 - Bent CornerIt turned out the passenger was 23 minutes away. Even worse, they were across the Potomac River in Martinsburg, West Virginia. According to Uber, I’m not authorized to pick up passengers in West Virginia. According to Uber, my Maryland car inspection only allows me to pick up passengers in Maryland, Washington DC, and Virginia.

When I arrived at the pickup spot and the passenger got in the car, I found out they wanted to go to Winchester, Virginia.

Most passengers don’t realize drivers never know where passengers are going until they get in your car and you begin the trip in the app. I didn’t understand is why Uber sent me the request. Why didn’t they send a driver based out of Martinsburg or Winchester?

Contacting Uber support can be a waste of time

After dropping off the passenger in Winchester, I then had to drive back to Hagerstown without compensation. Later that day, I contacted Uber support about it. What a frustrating waste of time. I couldn’t a straight answer. According to Uber support, if I didn’t want to take a passenger to Winchester and deadhead the fifty miles back to Hagerstown, I should have “politely” refused to drive the passenger. This, after they got in my car.

Huh?

That was idiotic advice. I’m supposed to drive twenty miles away to a different state, a state I’m not even authorized to pick up passengers in, and then tell the passenger to get out of my car and try again?

I asked the Uber support person why they sent me and not a Martinsburg or Winchester driver.  No answer. When I asked Uber support if I was now authorized to pick up passengers in West Virginia, I got no answer.

I finally gave up trying to get a straight answer from Uber support. I wasn’t getting any answers and I was only getting more annoyed.

 

It’s hard to drive for Uber when a throttled iPhone

Friday was a really short day. Not because I wanted it to be, but because AT&T throttled my unlimited data down to dial-up speed. My unlimited data had reached its monthly limit and would stay throttled until the following day when the account began its new month. Uber sent me only one passenger request Friday. I canceled the second the app gave me the option. The passenger would not come out of his house. I received the $5.25 cancellation fee. I’m going to start doing that from now on. If the passenger doesn’t show up within the time allotted, I’m canceling.

Adding the Lyft ride to my Uber total, I made a little over $250 for the week. Thanks to the $0.54 per mile deduction the IRS allows, it was all tax-free. Not too bad. I won’t get rich driving for Uber or Lyft, but it helps pay the bills. I also sold a WordPress plugin through my business website. Every bit adds up.

Lessons learned this week

  • Look to see how far away a passenger is before accepting a ride request in the Uber driver app. If they are more than ten minutes away, do not accept it.
  • Don’t even try to get into multi-message conversations with Uber support. If they fail to properly address your concern with the first message, don’t waste time with more messages. It’s not worth the aggravation.
  • AT&T unlimited data has its limits. Go over your monthly limit and they will throttle you down like you are connected to a dial-up account.
  • Don’t listen to music through the Uber app. It uses a lot of data. Plus, it’s very repetitive. I must have heard Soft Cell’s Tainted Love at least 47 times last week.
  • As soon as the app gives you the option of canceling the trip because of a rider no-show, take it.