Tag Archives: lyft driver stories

Trick or Treat: Lyft Wants ME to Be a Mentor?

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I have to say, I’m somewhat flattered that Lyft took the time to email me the morning after Halloween with an invitation to be a Mentor. On what was supposed to be the busiest night of the year for ridesharing, Lyft had to deal with a server outage that caused snafus for drivers and passengers alike. Then there was the Sacramento passenger who died in a wreck on the freeway. This is Lyft’s first fatality. And the first rideshare passenger killed during a ride.

It was a hell of a night for Uber too. Their servers also went down worldwide. And they had to fend off the usual criticism for surge pricing.

On top of all that, both Lyft and Uber were offering drivers an hourly guarantee. In San Francisco, it was forty bucks.

Despite the guarantee, I stayed home and watched slasher flicks with the Wife. We did Halloween, Halloween 2, Scream and Scream 2.

The next morning, the Facebook groups were inundated with screenshots of extremely high fares. Once the server issues were sorted out, prices surged 5x in San Francisco and LA. In other cities, they went as high as 9x. Drivers who powered through the glitches took home some serious treats. While several passengers were just tricked.

I felt a mild pang of disappointment that I missed out on the shit show, but the email from Lyft certainly raised my spirits. In fact, I laughed my ass off. I have to assume it was another server error. I mean, really… They want ME to be a Mentor? Me? The person who continuously trashes their brand? Who made fun of the Pacific Driver Lounge? And who wrote a scathing post that sent all the Lyft loyalists into such a tizzy? Me?

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Are they completely out of their fucking minds?

I’m tempted to accept the invitation just to see if they would actually approve me. And if they did… Well, that would only validate my theory that Lyft and Uber don’t give two shits what you say about them online. Regardless of what many think, we work for a computer. All that matters is how well you drive. And as far as Lyft’s algorithm is concerned, I’m good enough to be a Lyft Mentor.

Me!

Ten Consequences of Driving for Uber and Lyft

After seven months of driving full time for Lyft and Uber, these are ten things that make me dread going into driver mode:

1. Vehicle Depreciation

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Besides passengers slamming my doors, which has caused a mysterious rattle, scuffing my interior, leaving behind trash and generally making the kinds of messes you’d expect from a two year old, there is also mechanical wear and tear. The more I drive, the more things go wrong with my car. I figure I have about two more months until I need new brakes and tires. And then my rideshare days are over. I just don’t make enough from driving for Uber and Lyft to afford to keep driving for Uber and Lyft.

2. Boot Malfunction

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My right boot is more worn than the left. To be fair, this may have more to do with my bony heels, but it’s not something I ever noticed until I had to keep my foot on the gas and brake pedals for hours at a time.

3. Physical Discomfort

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My neck is like an open wound. No doubt from glancing over my shoulder as I switch lanes in traffic all night long, always diligent to keep an eye on my blind spots, as well as the other cars on the road, speeding bicyclists, impatient cab drivers and cavalier pedestrians. As a result, the muscles that run along my jaw are steel rods. I have very little radius when I turn my head left or right. The tension never goes away. There is a real possibility that I may have some dislocated vertebrae. My joints hurt. My right ankle has a creak in it. And I have a chronic case of hemorrhoids. No matter how much ointment I apply, they remain perpetually enflamed. I noticed once, when I was a Lyft passenger, that my driver had a hemorrhoid pillow on his seat. I may need to acquire one of those in the near future…

4. Spousal Neglect

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Since I’m out late driving on the weekends, the Wife’s home alone. And she’s not happy about it. I’ve tried driving during the weekdays, but the gridlocked traffic makes getting anywhere in the city a chore. It’s not worth the frustration. I spend more time driving to the pinned locations than I do taking passengers where they need to go. And the only time you can get surge pricing is on weekend nights. And holidays. Or special events. So…

5. Fear of Deactivation

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Nobody enjoys being judged. But constantly feeling threatened with “deactivation” is downright humiliating. The rating system employed by Lyft and Uber focuses on only one aspect of a driver’s performance: passenger satisfaction. And it’s not easy making people happy. Even when the ride has gone perfectly, there’s never a guarantee the passenger is satisfied. All it takes is one drunk passenger on a power trip and you’re deactivated.

6. Erratic Sleep

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I work late and come home late. But I can’t sleep late because my head is filled with dreams about my Lyft summary, which is the only way to find out what I made the day before and what’s happened to my rating. Sometimes the summary is in my inbox before I wake up. Other days the email doesn’t arrive until the afternoon. With Uber you know, for the most part, what you’ve made at the end of each ride. And your rating is updated in the app as feedback is left. So at least you’re disappointed in real time.

7. Misanthropic Tendencies

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After a while, you really start to hate people. I’ve met some really great folks in my car, but I’ve also encountered a lot of stinkers. People that I’d rather see under my front tire than in my front seat. But I have to maintain a sunny disposition and be accommodating to my passengers or risk a negative rating. Not an easy task when some passengers are just straight up assholes. They input the wrong location. They make you wait. They ignore you. They talk down to you. They say racist and sexist things in your car. Your only retaliation is to rate THEM low. Which doesn’t amount to much since it’s unlikely Uber or Lyft would ever deactivate a passenger’s account. I guess we should just be grateful our passengers act like self-entitled douchebags rather than punching us or holding guns to our heads.

8. Paranoia

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Every time I go out to drive, I say a prayer that nothing bad happens. I can’t shake the nagging sensation that if something goes wrong, I’ll be fucked. Uber and Lyft tells us to use our personal insurance in the event of an accident. But our insurance won’t cover any damages since we’re engaged in commercial activity. So what’s the point of having personal insurance to do rideshare? Not that things would be better with the insurance companies Uber and Lyft use. I’ve read numerous reports from drivers who’ve been in accidents and had to crowd source funds to get their cars fixed. Or just being left in the lurch. We are hardly protected under normal circumstances, but what if we’re at fault? Oh, the horror… And with Uber, there’s no support number. We can only email them afterwards. On top of all that, both Uber and Lyft charge us a deductible. So if we are covered, we still pay out of pocket, even if we aren’t at fault.

9. Monetary Deficiencies

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Because of the price wars, as Uber and Lyft fight it out to determine who will be the preeminent rideshare platform, drivers are getting squeezed more and more. The rates just keep going down. As it is, I’m broke as hell. My credit cards are all maxed out, most of the time my bank account is overdrawn and I have a painful toothache I can’t afford to fix. Not to mention taxes… I don’t want to even think about what I’m going to do when it’s time to pay taxes.

10. Self-loathing

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If you’ve made it this far on my list of rideshare consequences, you might be wondering why I don’t just quit. I know it’s stupid to complain about something you can’t control. And I know it’s my own damn fault. I bought into the promise of ridesharing as an alternative source of income with a good amount of freedom and it turned out to be a lie. I fell for the classic switcheroo. I’m an idiot. So why don’t I just get on with my life? Well, that day is coming. Without a doubt. For now, the hell I know is better than the one I don’t. And I like driving. I like meeting people. I like exploring the streets of San Francisco. But there’s no future in ridesharing for drivers. Hell, the way things are going, there won’t be a future for taxi drivers either.

Should We Really Kill Lyft?

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A few weeks ago, when I posted the cockeyed, ad hominem attack piece How to Fix Ridesharing: Kill Lyft, I knew it was going to be an incendiary post. Lyft loyalists responded with their usual derision over anything they perceive as anti-Lyft. Commenters were quick to label me a disgruntled ex-driver and an idiot, calling my logic primitive, retarded and stupid. Others pointed out that I understood nothing about how to run a business and that I was missing “a key part of the equation.”

Now, I’m the first to admit I’m no businessman. I’m certainly not the sharpest crayon in the box. And I’ve never claimed to be an authority on the subject of ridesharing other than being a current driver with a 4.9 rating who pathologically reads every article on the subject that crosses my Facebook dashboard and Twitter feed. I also pay close attention to the posts and comments on all the Facebook driver groups that I haven’t been kicked out of yet. I know how easily offended the Lyft faithful are. So I wasn’t surprised by the vitriol my post received.

But in their ardent support of the Lyft brand, my detractors failed to grasp that I was actually championing Lyft’s main tenets. I prefer driving for Lyft. I think they are a much better company than Uber. Which is a common refrain among drivers. Ride.Share.News recently did a survey and found that the majority of drivers prefer Lyft. Which makes sense. Unlike Uber, the Lyft app has many features designed with the driver in mind. The app automatically notifies the passenger when you’re getting close to their pinned location, as well as when you’ve arrived. It even starts the ride within a few minutes of waiting, which addresses one of the biggest frustrations of dealing with passengers: the wait.

Another frequent gripe about driving is being ignored and treated like a servant. Lyft’s “friend with a car” slogan is not only in the true spirit of ridesharing, and what most of us signed up for, it also makes for an enjoyable ride. But the greatest aspect of being a Lyft driver, of course, is the ability for passengers to leave a tip. As a regular Uber driver, I know that without this option in the app, 99.9% of passengers do not leave a tip. They signed up for a service so they wouldn’t have to worry about having cash on hand, so it’s understandable. Albeit unfortunate.

Of course, not knowing what you’ve made until the next day, the overall demanding attitude of Lyft passengers (no, I’m not your fucking DJ and no, I don’t have any candy for you), that stupid pink mustache and the forced homogeny make driving for Lyft less appealing to me, but for others that’s the main draw.

So… do I really think Lyft should be killed off?

Yes. I think Lyft and Uber should both die. I think these two companies have ruined the entire concept, and the potential, of ridesharing with their rampant greed. I hate them both, but I hate Lyft more. Why? Because, as I pointed out in the original post, by taking on Uber, they’re making things worse for everybody. There’s really no way they are ever going to beat Uber at their own game. Not with a pink mustache. Not by creating a “community” of drivers. And not with a quirky, fun vibe.

Lyft wants to compete with Uber because they want to be worth billions of dollars like Uber. You can’t really blame them. We all love money. But how can Lyft expect to corner the national rideshare market and make billions of dollars without becoming a generic service like Uber?

Based on my observations over the past seven months as a fulltime driver for Lyft and Uber, the vast majority of passengers aren’t that interested in an unconventional experience. Just a safe one. They want to request a ride from their phones, have the car show up and not deal with cash. Sure, there are plenty of people who buy into the Lyft experience, but instead of cultivating those users, in their ignominious attempt to get a larger share of the rideshare market, Lyft is not the Lyft of old. They are diluting the one thing that distinguishes them from Uber.

This isn’t my crackpot theory. A friend of mine who began using Lyft three months after the app was first released in San Francisco told me recently how disappointed she’s become with Lyft. She’s uncomfortable sitting up front next to creepy dudes. One driver even harassed her a few weeks ago. She says she no longer feels safe using Lyft and has moved on to UberX, where she can at least sit in the back. I told her she could easily sit in back with Lyft but she doesn’t see the point of using Lyft if she isn’t participating in the culture of Lyft.

Sound familiar?

Other bloggers and plenty of drivers have said the same thing.

And I’m not the only one who thinks that Lyft will lose the rideshare wars. We all know, once the dust settles in the rideshare wars, Uber will dominate the market. And no, I don’t think that’s a good thing at all. But it’s inevitable. If Lyft wants to be like Uber, then Lyft should die and let Uber do Uber. They don’t need Lyft’s help.

Killing Lyft off now would be an act of mercy. Let’s put them out of their misery so we can focus on protesting Uber, creating a TNC union, figuring out the insurance question, getting regulated and trying to increase fares. There are many people doing all these things right now. And current lawsuits against Uber may potentially change the game and take them to task for mislabeling drivers as independent contractors. There is legal precedence that by determining our rates and how we maintain our vehicles as well as limiting our ability to accept tips, they are actually our employers. Uber is fighting this classification tooth and nail because they won’t be able to shirk responsibilities for the assaults, sexual harassment and death caused by drivers. They also know the day is coming when they will be forced to assume the role of a transportation company. This can’t happen soon enough.

There is only one way to ensure the ability for anybody to make money in a car: regulation.

Of course regulation means the death of ridesharing. Because it will no longer be about individuals using their personal cars as vehicles-for-hire to make a few extra bucks on the side. If drivers are required to have permits for themselves and their cars, how many current rideshare drivers would go through that process to continue driving? Very little, I imagine.

Ridesharing is barely in its infancy. And yet it’s already doomed. Why? Because only two companies dominate the field. If Uber and Lyft continue to be the primary players and keep fighting each other for the national market, ridesharing will not advance. The only way to make ridesharing work is to create smaller companies based in individual cites. The technology is there, somebody just needs to build the apps. I think smaller companies could easily gain wide-acceptance in cities by advertising themselves as a local rideshare. Create a cool logo that’s unique to that city, pass out referral cards for free rides at all the bars and clubs, slap a magnet sign onto the side doors, place an emblem in the window and get noticed. It’s not hard to get attention these days. Look at a company like Black Crown Car Service in Seattle. Yeah, I know they’re a black car service, but they’ve proven that starting a car company at a local level can be accomplished. Just don’t expect to become valued at a billion dollars. Or take on Uber.

And yeah, I know SideCar is still a formidable player in the rideshare game. It seems like they’re poised to step into Lyft’s shoes once Uber finally crushes them, or take over entirely if Uber and Lyft do each other in. Their recent deal with SFO shows they are being strategic rather than blatantly fighting regulation and trying to destroy traditional taxi service.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who wins the rideshare wars. If either one becomes victorious, we’ll be right back where we started. In their efforts to destroy “Big Taxi,” Uber or Lyft will eventually become the very thing they aimed to disrupt: taxis. But with a twist: less regulation. So why not open up the market and start more rideshare companies to keep the disruption going?

Lyft and Uber have turned ridesharing into a racket. We use our own cars and assume all the risks and responsibilities to make these companies rich, all the while making less and less each month. And when we fuck up, or when our cars give out, we are cast aside. Neither Lyft nor Uber have any loyalty to us drivers. We are part of a social experiment that will fail. And when it does, the bigwigs at these companies will just walk away with golden payouts and form other companies. Or invest in somebody else’s start-up.

And the drivers? Some will get their TCP permits and go pro. The rest will move onto another side gig. Maybe they’ll have positive memories of their rideshare experiences. But I’m sure plenty will look back with regret.

The ones I really feel sorry for are the Lyft faithful. It’s going to really hurt when they have nothing left from their rideshare experience except a beat-to-shit car, a faded pink mustache and the harsh realization that a corporation they worshiped had just used them up and spit them out.

(photo courtesy of Gabriel Zamora)

The Rideshare Paradox

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Friends with Benefits

Uber must think Lyft drivers are all BFFs. It’s an understandable assumption, seeing as how Lyft promotes their brand of ridesharing as a community where drivers and passengers fistbump their way to everlasting friendship. Every day I get texts and emails from Uber telling me to bring my Lyft friends down to the office on Vermont street so they can sign up to drive for Uber. As always, it seems, they’re offering a $500 sign-up bonus and a $500 referral bonus. Plus lunch. And, as an added incentive, during the first month, new drivers are guaranteed to make either forty bucks an hour or $1000 a week, depending on the market.

If I had any Lyft friends, I’d tell them to take the money and run. $500 is a nice chunk of change. And I’ve seen the meals they give out at the Uber office. You get a sandwich, a bag of chips, some pasta salad and a soda. Not a bad spread. But alas, I have no friends in the Lyft “community.” I was removed from the Pacific Driver Lounge, Lyft’s official Facebook group for drivers, months ago for writing a blog post called The Cult of Lyft that poked fun of the jingoistic tendencies of the Lyft faithful. After that, I got kicked out of a group set up by Lyft drivers in the Bay Area. And then some Lyfters on a group for Uber Drivers had me kicked out of there. I guess what they say is true: “I am the most hated person in the world of Lyft.”

I’m actually surprised Lyft hasn’t deactivated me yet. I guess they’re afraid I’d make too much a stink if they sent me packing. Not that I’d be upset about it or anything. If you want to be part of the Lyft community, you need to drink a lot of Kool-Aid. Otherwise, you’re not welcome. And I’ve never felt welcome.

Still, it’s too bad I don’t know any Lyfters who aren’t already driving for Uber. I could definitely use the $500 referral bonus. After seven months of driving mostly fulltime for Lyft and Uber, I’m broke as hell. My credit cards are all maxed out, my bank account is overdrawn, I have a painful toothache I can’t afford to fix and the Wife’s always pissed cause I’m out driving late every weekend. As it is, I figure I have about two months until my car needs new brakes and tires. And when that day comes, my rideshare days are over. I just don’t make enough from driving for Uber and Lyft to afford to fix my car so I can keep driving for Uber and Lyft.

Now, I know it’s my own damn fault. I bought into the empty promise of ridesharing as an alternative source of income with a good amount of freedom. The ability to set your own hours can’t be overestimated for a creative type like myself. In fact, on Uber’s sign-up page, there are numerous quotes from drivers extolling the greatness of Uber because you can be your own boss. And who doesn’t want to be their own boss? I know I do. That’s one of the reasons I signed up in the first place. I was in between jobs and had an underutilized car. But as the harsh realities of being a rideshare driver became clearer, I should have moved on before the price wars went nuclear. Because all that freedom they talk about doesn’t come cheap.

Uber and Lyft have always been desperate for new drivers. But these days, they need them more than ever. As ridesharing becomes more popular, drivers will be quitting due to expensive car repairs or getting into accidents and not being able to afford the $2,500 deductible from the insurance companies that Uber and Lyft rely on to keep us safe. Or they’ll just bail after coming to the inevitable conclusion that ridesharing is not sustainable as anything more than a part-time gig.

The Long Con

In its current configuration, ridesharing, à la Uber and Lyft, is a conveyor belt to oblivion. Their goal is to take down “Big Taxi” with an endless stream of drivers using their personal cars as unregulated cabs. Uber and Lyft like to portray cab companies as monopolies that are bad for the public. They claim that government regulation will strangle innovation. But it’s all a smokescreen to disguise their true motives: replacing cab companies and their fleets of cars with tech start-ups who con regular folks into thinking they’re part of some “disruption” of a failed transportation system. And then rake in the cash.

Hey, it’s the American way!

You can’t blame Uber and Lyft for their eagerness to exploit the underemployed. It’s an effective business model that’s benefited countless fast-food joints and made the Walton family filthy rich. Low paid workers cycle through crap jobs all the time without much concern from the general public. But it’s one thing to have a stoned, pimply kid flip your burgers or ring up your discounted housewares. It’s quite another to trust them to transport you and your loved ones through city traffic in their own car for a few dollars. Chances are, they don’t even know how to get around the city without a navigation system. And even background checks can’t prevent bad seeds from easily finding their way onto the platform.

Not that it matters. Rideshare users, the very people who should be alarmed by these safety concerns, are absolutely clueless. They pay next to nothing for a ride and expect to be treated like royalty. Uber tells them they don’t need to tip and they accept that lie without hesitation. They just want the convenience and they want it for the lowest possible price. They blindly go along with the exploitative model of the gig economy without a second thought.

Unlike flipping burgers or running a register, though, Uber and Lyft drivers are supposed to perform a luxury service that’s superior to cabs. Despite getting paid less than cab drivers. Uber and Lyft are able to keep lowing the rates, of course, because they don’t have to own or maintain a single vehicle. They pass that discount onto to the drivers by forcing us to work for less and less each month.

I would much rather drive a cab. At least taxi drivers who lease their cars from a company don’t have to pay to fix them. If something goes wrong with their vehicle, they get a new one. A rideshare driver, on the other hand, shoulders all the risk and responsibility for their cars, as well as insurance and their health. We are subsidizing the entire industry so people can have an alternative to cabs. And what do we get in return? A few lousy bucks and a four-star rating at best.

As more drivers eventually realize they’re being exploited, Uber and Lyft will have to recruit new drivers to replace the ones who wise up. And these new drivers might make it a month or two before wandering off to another dead-end job. Some post comments in Facebook groups as they leave. But very few drivers will ever make a stink about how unfair the rideshare system is for drivers. Because the underemployed are used to being exploited.

Meet the new boss (and no, he’s not the same as the old boss)

I’ve had countless shitty jobs in my life. And each one came with a shitty boss. If I had ever had a boss that hired me at, say, $25 an hour and then a month later told me they were now going to pay me $15 an hour, I would tell that boss to fuck the fucking fuck off. Who wouldn’t, right? And yet, as a rideshare driver, I went along with a thirty percent pay cut. It happened so suddenly, I didn’t know how to react. And I didn’t feel like I had much a choice. Jobs don’t grow on job trees anymore. Those drivers who did have options dropped off like flies. The rest of us plodded along at the reduced wage. And then Uber and Lyft lowered the rates again. Sure, they claim that the new rates increase rides. But I was plenty busy before the price cuts. And I can only do so many rides an hour. Especially when passengers make me wait ten minutes to come outside or input the wrong location and I have to drive around looking for them. Then there’s traffic, unforeseen circumstances, driving to far off locations where you’re not likely to get a ride… the list goes on and on. It’s another lie. But we go along with it because we’re desperate. Or stupid. I don’t know which. Maybe both? (Of course, there are still Lyfters who are loyal to the brand. Bless their hearts.)

So how is not having a boss working out for us? Personally, I’d rather have the old boss. I don’t like the new boss. It’s like having a girlfriend or boyfriend who doesn’t want to put a “label” on things. You kind of suspect they’re two-timing you, but they’re just so cute. You can’t meet their friends. They always come to your house. Eat your food. Hog the comforter at night. And you can’t call them anytime you want. Oh, no. You have to wait for them to call you. And if you ever say, Hey, I need a commitment, they give you a million reasons why this relationship works best for YOU. And it sounds so convincing and you begin to think that maybe they do have your best interests at heart. They’re trying to protect you. So you go along with it because every once in a while, they’re just so fantastic. And you feel so loved. But deep down, you know the desperation has turned you blind to your own best interests. And one day, you’ll wake up and realize they don’t actually give two shits about you. You’re just one fool in a long line of fools who fall for their crap. You’re just somebody to keep them from being lonely on a Saturday night.

The day will come when all rideshare drivers have a similar revelation. And like that guy with the thick black book, Uber and Lyft need to keep enough irons in the fire so they never have to spend a Saturday night alone.

That’s the new boss.

I miss the old boss.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: ridesharing is a racket. There’s no way to win. Unless you want to join a cult or run your car into the ground. Then it’s a great way to make a few extra bucks a week. Just don’t think about what might happen if you get in an accident or need new brakes or what you’re going to do when it comes time to pay Uncle Sam. Whatever you do, do not think about that.

FUCK RIDESHARE! A Collection of Pissed Off Facebook Posts from Uber & Lyft Drivers

This very small collection of Facebook comments left by angry Uber and Lyft drivers dates from Fall 2014, when Uber and Lyft lowers prices to the point that many drivers who had been on the platform for over a year or longer felt they could no longer continue to afford to drive for these e-hailing companies.

There have been many price cuts since this one, and many before, but this was the first major reaction to them.

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How to Get Kicked Out of a Lyft Driver Lounge: Write a Blog Post

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I started driving for Lyft in March of 2014. From the beginning, since I fancy myself a writer and publish the occasional book and/or zine, I planned to keep a “driver’s log” of my experiences as a Lyft driver.

In July, I published a zine called Behind the Wheel: A Lyft Driver’s Log.

Some of the material I’d written for the zine didn’t make the cut. For whatever reason… perhaps it wasn’t good enough or maybe it was too technical… who knows. (Just don’t ask the Wife about it… she a brutal critic.)

Anyway, for the hell of it, I posted several outtakes on my Medium page, including a very ad hominem take on the fanaticism of Lyft drivers:

The Cult of Lyft: Inside the Pacific Driver Lounge

A few weeks later, in a late night, pot- and alcohol-induced flurry of impulsivity, I posted a link to the piece on a Facebook group for rideshare drivers called Uber, SideCar, Lyft Drivers Community. Not expecting much but a few page views (who doesn’t love clicks), I woke up the next morning to a shit storm. Somebody from the community forum had posted it on the official Lyft driver page, the Pacific Driver lounge.

Other drivers reposted it on the official Lounges for their cities.

Not only were Lyft drivers reposting the story, Uber drivers were propagating it as well.

The response was overwhelming. People laughed, people got upset, people talked smack, people did all the things people do on Facebook… I don’t think I’ve ever been insulted so much in such a short amount of time before, even though I used to start flame wars on the internet under the handle DiarrheaPunk.

It was hilarious that people would get so upset over a half-baked rant written on my iPhone as I was passing out from a hard night of Lyfting in the city (and a few stupefacients when I got home).

Some of the comments were pretty funny so I collected a bunch and posted them on my blog:

Lyft’s Pacific Driver Lounge is my Honey Boo Boo

Since it seemed germane to the group, I posted a link on the Uber, SideCar, Lyft Drivers Community forum. I tweeted a link to it as well. Which isn’t saying much. I only have 190 followers.

Shortly after that, Matt Jensen, a community outreach person for Lyft, or something called a “Lounge mentor” (if anybody can clarify his position, please leave a comment), tweeted at me asking for suggestions to improve the Lyft experience.

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I posted this constructive and very earnest — at least in my mind — response:

An Open Letter to Lyft: Since you asked…

After posting links, I was no longer able to access the Pacific Driver Lounge.

Not that I was surprised. After all, I collected all the comments because I figured I would be kicked out. I knew, from being a member of the Lounge that people got expelled from the Lounge all the time. And not just for getting in an accident, but for the silliest of offenses, like talking bad about Lyft.

C’est la vie. No more Honey Boo Boo for me.

About two weeks later, I found a personal message from Matt Jensen about being removed from the Lounge in my “other” inbox on Facebook. (Why do we need an “other” inbox anyway?) It was rife with paranoia, suggesting I shared “lounge details” with Uber. As if I had some connection to Uber, besides taking $500 from them for that one ride deal they offered back in May. (More on that later…)

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Even though I had been feeling a little offended that I never received a real email letting me know that I was banned from the Lounge, sending a Facebook message that he had to know would go to my “other” folder on Facebook since we weren’t friends was a little… unfriendly. Still, I was nice to get some communication about it. I took a screengrab and posted it on my blog:

My Official Removal from the Lyft Pacific Driver Lounge Notice

So that about wraps it up.

Well, not exactly.

Recently, a lawyer contacted me about a case she was working on for another driver who was kicked out of the Lounge. Something about unlawful retaliation in the workplace or discrimination in the workplace… Wanted me to discuss my experience with Lyft and the Lounge… I wrote this blogpost instead.

I don’t know, man… lawsuits are a bit of a stretch. If you’re able to sift through all this social media/blogpost nonsense, it’s obvious I was toying with Lyft. They made a play, I countered and they cried foul.

Wah.

The Lyft folks are a bunch of big babies. Somebody needs to call them a wahbulance.

The only downside to all this tomfoolery is that I got kicked out of the Lounge. Which sucks. Not only is the Lounge a place for drivers to get information about changes to Lyft policies and the driving experience in San Francisco, it’s also extremely entertaining. Is there anything better than gawking at a collective lack of self-awareness?

Lyft, please let back into the Pacific Driver Lounge.

I miss my Honey Boo Boo!

Behind the Wheel 1: A Lyft Driver’s Log

behind-the-wheel-1-zine

Behind the Wheel: A Lyft Driver’s Log

From the trenches of San Francisco’s sharing economy:
A Lyft confessional.

Ride shotgun with me as I cruise through San Francisco’s latest Tech Boom and divulge the stories, conversations and opinions of the passengers I pick up along the way.

56 pages
8.5″ x 5.5″
staple bound
illustrated
wraparound cover


 

ORDER HERE:

Behind the Wheel 1: A Lyft Driver’s Log

This illustrated 60-page zine is saddle-stitched, measures 5.5″ x 8.5″ and fully illustrated with a wraparound cover. This second edition was revised and updated with new material in 2018. Includes the “disrupt the disruptors” sticker. Shipping is free. (Be sure to include your mailing address.)

$7.00


 

Read excerpts herehere and here

A PDF/eBook version is available for 99 cents here.

A Kindle version is available here.

A Nook version here.


 

GALLERY OF PAGES:


REVIEWS:

BTW1-review-XD-DBBTW1-review-XD-FABTW1-review-XD-KB

Behind the Wheel #1 was reviewed in Razorcake Magazine:

Clocking in at fifty-six pages of pure text, Dessaint’s accounts offer a unique perspective to these rideshares that many people forget: the driver’s point of view. I found myself worried that overly drunk riders would vomit in his car; I cringed when a couple used his backseat as their own personal makeout haven; and I clenched my teeth while reading the conversations between tech bros and conservative republicans. I commend Dessaint for his ability to navigate the waters, as these situations all seemed like torture to me. Above all, Dessaint is inarguably enamored with the idea of San Francisco: the art, the culture, the history. Yet, his experiences tell tales more of frustration with what the city has become in recent years, rather than the happiness of being in the city he’s always loved. He and his wife live in nearby Oakland, as they cannot afford to live within San Francisco due to the influx of tech workers raising rent prices. The fact that his dream city is still a bridge away is a source of bitterness for Dessaint. I’ll drive myself around, thank you. –Ashley Ravelo

More praise for Behind the Wheel #1: 

I read this zine in one sitting, but don’t let that fool you; this is a text heavy zine. The zine has over 50 pages of Kelly’s experiences as a Lyft driver. As Kelly tells us stories about the people he meets, you also learn more about him as a person. I like how he handles his shit. He seems like a cool and nice guy. I appreciate like how neat and clean the zine is made, as I can’t stand sloppy zines.

And more

I love insider information! Like, anything that starts with “Confessions of…” I’m probably going to read. Behind the Wheel is a taxi-cab confessional of sorts, from the driver’s perspective. Kelly goes behind the pink mustache and shares the highlights and woes of being a Lyft driver. Whether he’s talking about how he learned the streets of San Francisco instead of relying on GPS, or griping about the stench of alcohol and cigarettes some passengers leave wafting through his car, Kelly’s laid-back style is engaging and readable. Best of all, he recounts passengers’ thoughts about the influx of “brogrammers” and other techy people into San Francisco. This makes Behind the Wheel a slice-of-life snapshot at the height of Tech Boom 2.0. Plus, he weaves in stories about his own life, letting us get to know our narrator better. When his soundtrack (like Bad Brains and Iggy Pop) plays in your head, it helps to beat down that dread you feel when he gets pulled over. At 54 pages, this zine is rich in detail and well-worth reading. Let Kelly give you a Lyft!