Clay Allsopp

Tales From The Lyft

Jun 15, 2013

These are three stories I've heard from Lyft, Uber, and Sidecar drivers in San Francisco, with some stylistic and dramatic embellishments.

I've got a day job, so I only drive on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. It sounds like it might get wild, but it's not too terrible. Mostly just rowdy folks, maybe a few who got close to losing their lunch in the backseat, harmless sort of stuff.

But so one night, I pull up to the stop and these two guys are standing on the sidewalk with another dude carried between them. I'm like, "What's going on fellas?" They manage to open the door, and it's obvious that the third guy is totally out-cold, while these other two characters are at the very least inebriated. They loft him into the backseat and politely say, "We need to go to the hospital. It's just a few blocks away."

Can you believe that? Instead of dialing 9-11, these guys order a car. I guess it makes sense. If you call an ambulance, you have no idea how long it'll be - but order one of us and you're there in what? 10 minutes? So I drive them there, pull into the emergency lane, drop them off, and move on with my night. Never found out what happened, but I hope the guy turned out alright.

So one day I'm on my shift, doing my thing, and I turn the corner when out of nowhere this yellow Prius cuts me off. Like literally creates a 70-degree-ish angle between my car, the Prius, and the sidewalk. So I'm like, what the hell is going on?

And out of this tiny Prius, like all fuel efficient and quiet and compact, emerges this 6-foot-two, just enormous bald guy. Not like overweight but just like a huge formidable dude. My first thought is, "Wait, how did that giant fit into this tiny little thing?" And then I notice what the car really is: it's a taxi.

The taxi driver gets out and starts barreling down on me - not blinking, just like lasering down towards my door. In my forty years on this earth, I don't know if I have never felt so threatened as when this colossus marched at me. He starts pointing and screaming at my car, though he's like pretty muffled by the windows. I swear I can see the spit flying off his lips and veins popping out of his head, too.

He kicks my tire, storms off back to his cab, throwing his hands in the air and like screaming as he walks away. His little Prius burns out and zips away just as fast as he cut me off. So, I guess lesson learned: don't wear the mustache on the bumper, keep it inside the windshield.

I was a taxi driver in San Francisco for 22 years. I was one of the good ones, not the guys that just decide not to show up for an airport run at 2 AM without notice. I put up with the dispatch and the gate fees and the crap and it was okay, yknow?

But then I start hearing about this Uber thing and Lyft and how the cab company is going to do something about it. So they came out with their own app but nobody uses it. You know why? Because all the cab companies care about is making money. They don't care about the drivers, they don't care about their customers, they just care about money.

I switched over a few months ago and I love it. I make more money, I work my own hours, I don't have to deal with anyone else besides my passengers. I promise you, this is the future.

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