The time I started driving for Uber and Lyft

You may have noticed my other post about background checks and Uber/ Lyft. There was a reason for that.

Personally, I have no problem with a fingerprint background check but I do have an issue with there only being 1 place to go to that is open when the mayor’s pet fox turtle is in heat but only if it falls on the equinox’s 5th fortnight.

What I’m trying to say is that there need to be multiple and convenient locations for people to go get fingerprinted and the cost of the fingerprint check needs to either be free or very inexpensive.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about Uber/Lyft and their vetting processes.

There are some not trivial differences between the vetting processes of Uber/ Lyft.

With Lyft, I had to meet up with a “senior driver” who gave my car the once over, answered my questions, showed me a couple of videos about how the service works etc. My Lyft background check took 2 weeks to complete. While I waited for the background check, I would get links to training videos that went over a lot of the details of being a successful driver.

With Uber, I filled out my information (ID, photo, car documents, etc.) online, completed the training online and received my approval within 5 days of submitting my background check.

There are also differences in the “driver” mode of both apps as well.

Lyft’s app is a single point solution for everything. If I want to drive, I just toggle a switch and I’m in driver mode. Once in driver mode, I can get a feel for rider demand in the city and then go to where the demand is if I so choose. I also get a daily email summary of my rides and earnings. I get the feel that it’s a fully developed end to end app.

With Uber, the rider app is separate from the driver app. Just like Lyft, I get a feel for where the passenger demand is, and I can go to those areas and so on. However, if I want to opt in to a promotion, I have to leave the app. Not a big deal, but it is something that differentiates the level of integration between the 2 ride-sharing companies.

So, what’s it like to drive for them?

Years ago, I drove a cab for Yellow Cab here in the city. I stopped driving after the 3rd time I got held up. I figured having a knife pulled on me wasn’t my thing. So, I have some experience with giving people rides.

With the ride-sharing companies, there is no cash to handle or exchange. Everything, from requesting a ride, to paying for the ride etc. is done through the app. There is no cash exchanged and I both love and hate that.

I liked having a bit of cash everyday when I went home driving the cab, but that same cash was the basis for the danger of driving, so there’s that.

The biggest difference that I’ve noticed, is that people are much nicer. I guess since people know that they are getting into someone’s personal car that they are on their best behaviour, which is nice. Time will tell if this was just a fluke or if this trend holds true throughout my tenure.

What Is Your Route?

There isn’t really a set route per se. You basically can go to where the demand is, or just park and wait for a request. Regardless, it’s basically pick someone up from the burbs, and take them downtown.

Then get someone from downtown and take them to the burbs, and so on.

On Saturday, I spent a lot of time in West Campus, near the University, taking college kids between frat houses.

It would take me 5 minutes to drive and pick someone up, then 3 minutes to actually give them a ride to their destination, which was about a 7 minute walk from where I picked them up from. A lot of these riders were girls wearing these ridiculously tall heels with ridiculously short dresses, which I imagine they can’t walk in very well.

So, Is everyone drunk?

Surprisingly, no. Most people just don’t want the hassle of trying to find a place to park. They just want to meet up with friends, have a great dinner and a nice time and then ride home in a relatively nice, clean car. Have you looked at what parking costs downtown?

People like knowing when their ride will show up and are generally appreciative that you are there taking time out of your day to give them a ride.

So, which do you prefer, cab or ride share?

For my money, I’d go ride share all day urrday. The main reason is that with the ride share, I know roughly how much my ride will cost me ahead of time. I also like that I can see where the car is that’s coming to get me and I like that the cars are clean and in good shape.

OK, but what about as a business, which do you prefer now that you have done both?

Again, ride share all the way. Because, there is no cash exchanged, people are there, always, if they cancel the ride, there is a cancellation fee and I get a small cut of that. I also like that my payment gets direct deposited to my bank and I don’t have to go to a base and check in every so often. It is way cheaper to be in business with ride sharing than with the cab company.

The biggest draw back?

Probably the no cash thing, just because I like having something to show for my efforts daily. Also, the driving my personal car thing. I didn’t buy my car to work ride sharing, I bought it cuz I liked it. Had I thought that I’d end up doing this, I’d have bought a different car. I’ve worked for myself before, so the taxes and other things are no big deal to me, but it is something to keep in mind.

In case you’re wondering, yes, I still have my day job at the agency.

If you want to try Lyft, as a rider or as a driver, use my referral code and we both get a bonus: RAFAEL068309

For Uber, use: rafaelm699ue


Rafael is an aviation geek, a consumer advocate, a dad, a multiple personality blogger, a photographer, politically opinionated, a videographer and many other things as well.

One thought on “The time I started driving for Uber and Lyft

  • March 8, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    I totally agree, I would go with ride share over taxi any day! Taxi’s take too long and you don’t have the convenience of booking them in advance to pick you up and I would say pricier!

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