I’m happy to be here to publish my Tuesday blog post today, because after I posted last week Friday, I got into a Lyft and almost died. Then I wanted to tell someone in charge about my near-death experience, so the next business day – yesterday – I called the Lyft mothership and spoke with a very nice woman who promised they’ll look into my grievance without hurting anyone’s feelings, which was my primary concern.
One thing about Lyft: the quality of the customer service call was exemplary, and I only had to listen to the loop of 70’s-inspired, acoustic guitar elevator music for five minutes! In my opinion, five minutes can seem like five hours if it’s, say, Vivaldi’s “Spring” of The Four Seasons, which has been the
torture hold music du jour for the last 15+ years, or for however long cell phones have existed.
(By the way, I’m not a terrible person. I used to enjoy The Four Seasons before “Spring” became the default hold music.)
But enough rambling. I’m writing this post as a Public Service Announcement:
If you can’t drive but you insist on driving, at least don’t imperil others by signing up as a Lyft/Uber driver.
Because Lyft does not regulate their drivers in terms of driving and navigating ability. They do not examine potential drivers to determine whether they’re capable. There is no system in place to ensure that people are actually qualified to drive other people around. Lyft (and probably Uber) will check for credentials (license, driving record, etc.), and if all looks good on paper, you’re hired.
The customer service woman said that she drove for Lyft, herself, and she’d had a “mentor” who went with her on a “mock drive” before she was allowed to drive people for real. “I don’t know if they’re still doing that, though,” she said.
Well, they’re not. Callaghan drove for Lyft for a few months in 2014, and he never had any such experience. He filled out a form, and some guy did meet with him, but the guy never observed Callaghan’s driving.
Anyway. I was in the back seat of this Lyft and I texted Callaghan so if something happened, he would know why.
A Lyft driver should be able to:
- Find you (Granted, our house is tricky to find, especially since our street sign vanished during a bro-house party a while back and the City of Tempe hasn’t replaced it yet)
- Navigate without holding the cell phone two feet away from your face and looking at it more than you’re looking at the road as you’re driving one-handed, especially on the freeway.
- Merge onto the freeway without almost getting hit.
- Stay within the lane, rather than driving like you’re asleep at the wheel.
- Change lanes (she kept trying to get into the next lane, then finally gave up when she almost got us killed twice.)
- Drive at the speed limit, rather than below it, especially on the freeway where the flow of traffic is always slightly faster than the speed limit.
- Focus on driving rather than trying to make small talk and glancing back at the passenger while also trying to see the GPS on your phone that you’re still holding out in front of you.
- Be aware of other drivers on the freeway, which can’t be done if you’re glancing back and forth between the back seat and your phone.
- Drive confidently, so you don’t have to fluctuate your speed on the freeway because you’re afraid of other drivers.
I did rate her accordingly, and I made that phone call to Lyft’s safety concern line. I didn’t like doing it (she was really a nice lady), but it was my civic duty. She shouldn’t be driving at all, much less for Lyft.
Thanks for reading my tale of woe, and please pass this on!