Rideshare Driver Profile: Lawrence
Last Updated on: June 17th, 2016
First Name: Lawrence | Age: 50s | Driving around Boston, MA in a 2005 Honda Pilot.
1.How long have you been a rideshare driver?
2 months and counting.
2. Are you doing this full time or part-time? If part-time, what is your day job or what industry are you in?
Part-time. I am a software consultant starting a business.
3. How many hours per week do you rideshare?
I drive 20 hours a week.
4. What rideshare company are you a part of? Uber, Lyft, Fasten or all of the above?
I only drive with Lyft.
5. If you drive for more than one company, which do you prefer and why?
Lyft treats its drivers better and has more stringent requirements to become a driver. Lyft passengers expect a comfortable and friendly environment. The Lyft experience is fun, and from my conversations with others, Uber is very much a job.
Lyft also has a mentor program that requires a driver to participate in what is essentially an interview in which the driver is scrutinized, the vehicle is examined and the mentor provides tips, tricks and training. This helps the driver enormously, and filters out drivers that would not be good representatives for the company.
6. Why do you rideshare? What do you get out of it?
I decided to sign up on a referral bonus. I was given the bonus in the first week, but kept driving. I can drive when I want. I can just turn on the Lyft app while sitting in my chair writing or researching material. If no ride comes for two hours that is fine, because I am occupied. For the most part, the people I meet are fun and enjoy the Lyft experience. I feel as though I am giving a friend a ride more than being a cabbie. And doing it on my terms and my time in my car adds to the positive experience.
7. What concerns you most about being a rideshare driver? (Safety, Accident, Insurance, Drunk passengers, Wear and Tear of car, Mileage, People hitting on you or making a pass, Rating system, other (please explain…)
Accidents and safety are of course the first concern of every driver and should be. I am concerned about Lyft’s rating system, which is not at all well explained to passengers. It is a five star rating, but Lyft treats it as though it is only a scale running from 4 to 5. Passengers can be disgruntled for any reason or just in a bad mood and give a low rating which will impact the driver for no reason.
8. Take us back to the the very first ride you ever gave. How was the experience? Any jitters? Did you make a mistake? wrong turn, forgot to hit buttons on the app? Did you talk to your passenger/s? Were you hooked instantly?
I wasn’t nervous, because I gave a ride to someone I knew the first time. It took me through the process. The first ride after that was easier, because I had a much better feel for the application. The Lyft mentoring session also made the process much easier, because my mentor taught me the process in advance.
9. Would you recommend becoming a rideshare driver to your sister, best friend, mom or other women drivers? What would you tell them?
Ridesharing requires a positive mindset. If you are going to transport others in your car, you have to want to do it. Without the bonuses, the pay is not that good. Most will say they earned hundreds of dollars in a day, but that is the gross income. The driver pays all expenses, including gas, maintenance, insurance and car payments. It is not unusual to earn less than minimum wage after deducting expenses. In a day on which I grossed approximately $240 after Lyft took their 25% cut, I had driven 180 miles and paid for a tank of gas. Cost to operate the vehicle per mile is approximately 59c a mile. Deducting that, what I really earned in about 7 hours was $240-(.59) x 180=$133. That amounts to about $19 an hour. A decent pay, but not the huge earnings promised.
I would recommend it for the bonus offered if substantial, because then the driver is rewarded for the experiment. If it does not play out, the driver can walk away. I would also recommend it only to someone that owns their own car, preferably one older with low miles so the actual costs to the driver are low. A person driving a brand new $30,000.00 vehicle with a $600 a month payment does not make any more per ride than the driver with a five year old car that is paid off, but the costs are enormously different.
I would also consider my opinion of the person. Driving takes focus. People that I know would not be able to focus well on driving I would never advise to drive on Lyft. I would not advise drivers under 25 to drive for Lyft. The insurance is very high, and the experience driving is just not there. And I would only recommend someone that is responsible in their daily lives and is willing to assume responsibility for others. If I don’t feel a driver is right, I would not recommend them to step behind the Lyft wheel.
10. Any memorable experience as a driver? Most memorable rider?
My memorable experience was a Dutch couple I met that knew a great deal about Europe and had traveled extensively. It was a long ride and a great conversation ensued, and I learned an incredible amount about traveling in Europe from these great people I would not have otherwise met.
11. What is the most annoying thing about your passengers? What is the most pleasant thing about them?
Petty reviews. Lyft drivers are rated on a five star scale. Passengers have trouble grasping that Lyft considers any rating below 4.6 as having failed the review process. This can result in a driver’s ability to drive being curtailed or removed.
Most passengers are great and relate to me as a driver. They love the ride and leave great comments and five star ratings. My car is always clean, I have candy, gum and water, and I arrive to pick them up as quickly as I can, even taking rides well out of my area to help out a customer, and my navigation rating is top notch. But I still get the occasional low rating from someone with a comment that is completely disjoint from the purpose for reviewing the driver.
One very far-out comment I received was that a passenger thought that offering her candy was strange, and it made her feel uncomfortable, but most of my passengers love the candy and gum. One, in fact, ate an entire bag of Reese’s. If you don’t want the candy, don’t eat it. If you feel uncomfortable for any reason, you can express why to the driver, or you can ask Lyft to get another driver for you. If you do not feel safe, definitely ask to get out of the vehicle. But don’t take the ride and then complain about total nonsense like the candy.
Another passenger said I was chatty, but personality traits have nothing to do with the categories within which a passenger is expected to rate a driver, unless those traits threaten or frighten the passenger. Have you ever felt comfortable with a cab driver? I never have once.
Personalities are different, and one person may love a conversation, while another may be annoyed by it. From the perspective of the provided service, it is meaningless. Did the driver arrive on time, were you driven safely to your destination in a reasonable period of time, did the driver provide you a clean environment, a well maintained vehicle and available safety features such as seatbelts and airbags. Did the driver appear to drive safely, not texting while driving, not swerving in and out traffic and obeying traffic laws? Did it appear to you the driver was not impacted by alcohol or drugs? Those factors are important to the passenger well beyond any personal dislikes of the driver’s personality. A passenger is asked to judge the experience, not nitpic on personal differences. You can choose your friends; you cannot expect every Lyft or Uber driver to be your best friend when neither of you chose the other in advance.
Petty and nonsensical reviews damage a driver’s ability to drive. Petty passengers think it their duty to scrutinize every aspect of the individual as though the person was employed by them. The driver does not in any case work for the passenger. The driver has the right to tell a passenger to exit the vehicle because the vehicle is their property. The driver is not subservient or lower on life’s totem pole. The driver is merely someone providing a service. He does want you to be satisfied with the service, but he will, in most cases, rarely, if ever, see you again. Any passenger that was transported well from one location to the next should provide five stars across the board, not get satisfaction hurting someone else just because they can. But they do.
12. Have you ever been pulled over by a cop while ridesharing? Why? What happened next? No.
13. If you could add, remove one feature that could help you as a Lyft or Uber driver, what would it be?
While I have extensively commented on the rating system, especially petty passengers, it likely is working for Lyft to a degree, because they are succeeding, drivers are in general better for it, and passengers are getting a better experience. So, I would not remove it, although it may need to be tweaked.
The worst aspect is the ride matching that is incredibly unfair to the driver. Drivers are often sent long distances to pick up passengers for short rides. If a driver declines the ride, it counts against them and can impact their ability to drive over time. In one recent case, I was requested to pick up a passenger 20 miles away (30 minutes). I used a gallon of gas just getting there. I offer a large sized vehicle, but this passenger wanted to avoid the fee for the larger vehicle, so instead called me in advance to make sure she was getting the larger vehicle without having to pay for it.
When I arrived, I was greeted by a pair of college students moving about 1000 feet to an adjacent dorm. Being women, they needed assistance lifting the heavy boxes and furniture. I obliged. We loaded a large SUV that seats 8 to the brim. I drove them 1000 feet and helped them unload too. In the end, I got $7.50, which was $6.00 after Lyft’s cut, and because I was out of my way there, I had to drive to an area to get my next ride costing me another gallon of gas, so I was out $5. On that. I likely lost two rides I could have had within a five mile radius. The wear and tear on the car, the gas and the time led to a considerable money losing experience. Lyft makes money every single time by deferring all expenses to the driver. The driver’s expenses can often exceed the cost of picking up and driving any passenger. Badly matched passenger/driver pairings are just not reasonable. Passengers often cancel in the process, leaving the driver with nothing.
No driver should be asked to drive more than ten miles to a passenger without considerable compensation. I do not believe a passenger that cannot find a ride within 20 miles would mind paying an additional fee for the service to cover the costs. I do not believe Lyft does not know that they are abusing the drivers by not offering them a higher rate in such cases or just charging a higher minimum for longer pickups.
14. What music do you listen to while ridesharing?
I try not to focus on the music. It is for the passengers. I like to focus on my driving and the GPS. I have music configured to be easy listening and not offensive that can run all day. It serves to relax the passenger and entertain while I focus on the task at hand.
15. Favorite Quote?
“Wow, this is way better than Uber!”
– o –
Rideshare Driver Profile is a regular section here at the site that showcases real rideshare drivers cruising the major cities all across America. We hope to include international drivers in the future. If you are a driver and would like to share your story, Download the DriverProfile questionaire and email your answers to joinus at werideshare.org | We’d love to hear from you!