Bless me WordPress for I have sinned, it’s been 17 months since my last entry. So much can change in 17 short months. I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that there have been many memorable and forgettable events since we last met.
Something triggered me to write today, although when I reviewed the last post I wrote, I discovered that I had already addressed the issue. It’s important enough that it bears repeating though.
In addition to the drunks, rideshare partners also play driver to those who are not fortunate enough to have their own vehicle. Rather than taking the bus, sometimes these folks rely on Lyft and Uber to get them to work or school or the store.
Recently, the law changed regarding our ability to transport minors. We can no longer drive anyone under the age of 18 without a parent or guardian. So that means if you parents relied on Lyft or Uber to chauffeur your kids to high school football conditioning or picking them up from a friend’s house to take them home, you’re in for an unpleasant cancellation when we arrive and your kid can’t produce a valid ID proving age of majority.
But I’m digressing. This afternoon, I accepted a ride request from “Tarshi” who I noticed had a 4.6 passenger rating. We can see your rating before we even accept the ride. A 4.6 is a pretty low rating in the grand scheme. I’d say the average pax rating is about a 4.8. Both pax and driver rating is an average of their last 100 rides.
Again, I’m digressing, but that low rating should have been my first clue about the quality of pax I was about to meet. I pull up to the apartment complex and park across the street. I tap the app so that she knows I have arrived. I’m waiting less than a minute when she emerges from the complex gates in a black polo shirt wearing a nametag and holding the hand of a little girl who couldn’t be more than 3 or 4. I immediately sigh and roll down my window to address her.
“Do you have a car seat for her?”
“Does she need a car seat?”
Rather than answer me, she begins to retreat as if she is going back to get it, which is a good sign. Before she can take her third step back towards the apartment, she turns to me and says, “Nevermind, I’ll just cancel the ride.”
I say okay and pull out before a thought occurs to me and pull halfway down the block until I get her cancellation notification.
She and the little girl remained outside in the shade as she went back to the app to request a new driver. Knowing that the Lyft algorithm is based on distance, I logged out of the app so that she wouldn’t show up in my queue again.
I grabbed my phone and immediately began typing out a post on the local Facebook driver’s group. We often swap information to assist one another in the rideshare game. I let them know that that Tarshi was on a particular street, requesting a Lyft with a toddler and no car seat.
This isn’t the first time I’ve had to post on the group page about irresponsible parents. Every so often, I’m confronted with this situation and it really pisses me off that some parents have no regard for their own children’s safety. What’s even more infuriating is that she probably requested another driver, and that driver allowed her to put the kid in danger by taking them wherever she wanted to go without proper safety restraints.
I suppose if the parents don’t care, then there is little incentive for a driver to care. It’s difficult not to anticipate the next horror story about an accident involving a Lyft or Uber fare with unrestrained children casualties if it hasn’t already occurred.
New Trade Dress
You may recall that I had been driving around with that sweet glowstache mounted to the center of my dashboard when in driver mode. A few months ago, Lyft came out with a sweet new ride indicator called the Amp. It replaced the glowstache on the center of the dashboard.
The Amp is a small tube-shaped LED light with the logo in the center. The cool feature about this new thing is that if a pax has updated their app lately, their app will display a specific color once they request a ride. Instead of the standard pink color, the app may show blue, green, or orange. Once their driver has arrived, the Amp will display that color which corresponds to the pax’s app color as an additional indicator of having gotten into the right vehicle.
This helps to eliminate confusion when several drivers pull up to the same location where many pax are waiting for rides. I say this helps to eliminate confusion, but drunk idiots are drunk idiots, and even though the app specifically tells them the make, model, color and plate number of the car they should be waiting for, they still end up getting in the wrong damn car.
There are several stories out there of drivers picking up the wrong pax and having to cancel mid-trip because of it. I have my own example of this which just occurred in recent months, but I will write about that experience in some future post.
In addition to the Amp, Lyft also changed the display trade dress we are supposed to attach to our back windshields while in drive mode. It went from the square emblem to an oval or tube-shaped decal like the ones below.
Am I the only one who sees a maxi pad? Now that I’ve brought it up, you can’t unsee it, can you? Sorry about the visual, but I just don’t understand why they switched it up. I suppose it’s better than the new toilet seat logo Uber began using.