One of the things that really bugs me out about travelling is how expensive some taxi rides can be. Which is why I normally use public transport, but sometimes it’s just not safe, or the travel time is way too long. This was especially the case while travelling the United States last year in LA, a city that is known for its urban sprawl (I learnt something in Geography after all), and bad public transport system. That is, until we were told by our airbnb host about an app called Lyft. Its main competitor is Uber, but I’ve never used it so I can’t comment on Uber. However, after using Lyft during my trip in the US, I would recommend it for the following reasons:
- It’s a reasonable price. It’s not going to be dirt cheap like public transport, but it’s much better than a taxi – especially in cities known for sky-high cab fees (they say it’s 30% cheaper than a regular cab fare). When I was in LA, Lyft was still somewhat new so there was a ‘donation’ system in place where you could pay what you wanted (with a minimum of course), although they would give you a recommended donation. Now that Lyft has become better known, LA is no longer on a donation system, but some of the places where Lyft operates still uses donations – for a full list, click here.
- The app is super easy to use. The app uses location services to locate the nearest driver, and send them to you – and also, you can track their whereabouts. When your request is accepted by a driver, they send you a photo of the driver and car so you know who to look out for.
- Easily recognizable. The cars are decorated with a massive pink moustache as well, so there’s no missing them on the street when they come to pick you up.
- No cash. You connect a card to the app, so you don’t have to worry about dealing with cash. It also makes it easier for identification.
- Ratings. You rate your driver after each lyft, and your driver rates you. If either rating is below 3 stars, you aren’t paired with them again. And if a driver regularly receives low ratings, they are removed from the drivers list.
- The drivers. The drivers are extremely friendly (the whole idea of Lyft is to humanise big cities and encourage community bonding). We receieved a lot of great local tips from drivers, like a popular place for fondue in Cambridge, MA, or what areas of San Francisco to avoid at night. You meet some really interesting characters – we met a filmmaker; and they treat you like an old friend – I got into a hysterical debate with a guy who thought Beyonce was overrated (which provided my friends with great entertainment). Most of the people who drive for Lyft are doing it in their spare time as extra income, and can choose their own hours – so they’re happy to be there. And in case you were wondering, drivers get 80% of the payment.
- It’s safe. All drivers have to go through a background check and a pretty thorough car and driving check with Lyft before they can become one. Also, Lyft is covered by insurance, so that’s another plus.