A wonderful journalist sent me a link to her blog/article about driving for Lyft and I have absolutely got to share it here.
The author Justine Sharrock sent this to me over twitter and reading through it I can see she did an excellently thorough job of covering this story. She hits on the insurance issues, background checks and inspections with aplomb.
Justine actually quoted me at one of the board meetings:
“This is the ultimate decimation of the taxi industry,” a cab driver said at a public SFMTA meeting. “Who would pay to get a license or a medallion if there is no money in it because these apps have become the way to get around town?”
A few of the points she makes I already have already seen indirect evidence of and witnessed with my own eyes:
“What I discovered: Legally they aren’t who they say they are. Donations aren’t entirely voluntary; customers who don’t pay can be blacklisted. Drivers use it as a way to make a living. They pay taxes, deduct expenses, and follow Lyft guidelines on how to make more cash. It is essentially impossible to use the app to coordinate carpooling. They don’t fulfill the legal loopholes they claim to. Lyft even admits as much themselves.”
“The interview lasted five minutes, tops.”
“Lyft takes a 20% cut of drivers’ fares (lowered temporarily to 15%), except during “power hours”: on Friday and Saturday nights, early commute hours, and holidays that involve lots of drinking, when the driver gets all the money. Most people make about $18 to $35 an hour, I was told, but it varies depending on how busy it is and whether you are driving during power hours.”
“Lyft’s vehicle safety inspection, which it claims is stricter than those of taxicab services, consisted of checking that my car was clean inside and out and having me demonstrate that my break lights, blinkers, and headlights worked.”
“They didn’t check references or ask for a résumé. I don’t think they even Googled me.”
“I bought my first car last year….My driving history does not fit the profile of a cab driver.”
A highly recommended read for those of you that think Lyft and Sidecar are such fun companies and they are “better” than cabs.
Don’t fall for the hype, use your brain.