Murphy’s Law, and why you should mind your manners with your rideshare driver

How a ride request to the suburbs became a “Murphy’s Law” pain in the neck for my riders

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Admittedly, not all drivers are going after the bonuses that the companies offer us.  At the time of this writing (July 2017) Lyft has static weekly bonuses that do not change. Uber’s bonuses change twice weekly. Without getting into all the details, I was near an important bonus at 2:00am on Sunday morning. In that mode of slight desperation, a driver takes every ping that comes their way as they must keep a 90% acceptance rate.

My surgeless-ping brings me near the corner of Wells and Division, an area that is full of night life. Further, I was driving an XL/Plus eligible vehicle but still get regular, less financially lucrative requests. Its a regular ride (not XL/Plus ride with a mandatory 1.5x multiplier), I wait nearly the entire 5 minutes (note: this is inconsiderate behavior) as the map begins to surge, and immediately regret not cancelling the ride.

Two dudes, and two females get in and two of them determine that they need to sit in the way back without my assistance. Putting the seat down so a rider can enter the back-backseat is a two-part process that few riders can comprehend while inebriated, and choose the most logical alternative which is to just step all over my seats and head rests. That’s what these riders did, stomped all over my seats and head rests, against my verbal warning.

The guy in the front seat promptly passes out with his forehead resting on the passenger airbag release area.

Before I even get to the first stop sign a female in the seat immediately behind me makes a verbal demand.

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Female1 rider: Can you give me the Aux cord?

Driver: Sorry, I don’t carry an Aux cord. Is there something wrong with the Blues?

Female1 rider: Why not? I like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and… (other bands that I don’t care to remember. Blah blah, music, Aux cord)

Driver: (muttered excruciating slow) Its. A. Choice. I don’t carry, an Aux cord.

At this point I mention that I run Pandora. So I throw on the Chief Keef Pandora station, which as you might well imagine is a platinum-level hit with many riders whom have successfully steered me away from the Chicago Blues Pandora station… Not even one (1) minute into the song and she has something to say-

Female1 rider: This is the worst (I’ve ever heard. Blah blah, I like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, blah blah)

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Red Hot Chili Pepper’s “Blood Sugar Sex Majik” is overrated

So then I amend the selection to the 1980’s Pop Pandora station.  The riders begin to sing with some of the songs, but Female1 rider is pressing for the Red Hot Chili Peppers (and other bands that I don’t care to remember).  The passive aggression was unrelenting. I had already been driving for about 8 hours and had now made the final determination that this was my last ride of my night: the suburbs have little if any demand after 10:00pm, and a deadhead ride back to civilization will be a minimum of 16 minutes.

The comatose rider in my front seat made a couple of concerning grumbling sounds which had me fantasizing about pushing him out of my car on the Eisenhower Expressway.  Female Rider2 in the way back is talking on her phone endlessly about all the relationship gossip that most males would bristle at.

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O M G! That’s what she did when he said what?!

This had quickly turned into a one-star ride based on the amount of undue stress the riders were causing me:

  1. Dislike the vehicle atmosphere that I carefully procure
  2. Possible puker next to me
  3. Passive agressiveness
  4. Gas guzzling vehicle on a long suburban trip down I-290

Finally we exit the expressway, but we still have 9 minutes of suburban back-roads to traverse before their drop-point.

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“I Ran” from Flock of Seagulls briefly cheered me up and moments later we finally arrived at the destination.

Three (3) of the passengers exit my vehicle from the back and the dead human next to my was still headbutt into my dashboard with no sign of life. Per the various conversations occurring in my vehicle, he had a flight to make in just a few hours.

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Enjoy that flight

The other male says he’s going to handle him, and after negotiation and cajoling by the conscious male passenger, he finally gets the dead guy on his wobbly feet only to walk in the opposite direction of his apartment complex toward a characterless parking lot. I check the back seat for belongings and proceed to exit this suburb which was lifeless and devoid of energy.

Driver thoughts: [Great. 1-Star Rating. Its over. Great. Time to drive home and sleep.]

Not even 5 minutes into the drive home I start to hear a noise in the back seat that I immediately recognized as a cell phone ringtone. And *I laughed to myself*– Aux cord, passive aggression, threat of vomit… I will not be stopping my vehicle to investigate the ringtone.  It must have went off seven (7) times during my drive back home.

Dear reader, when a rider leaves something in our car, we as drivers are given wide latitude on how to return it.  One advertised method is to get a mailing package sent to us, I put the item in the package, and then mail the package- I am thinking that method would take a minimum of four (4) business days to complete.

After arriving in my garage, I notified the rideshare company of the phone that was left in my vehicle.  Dropped the phone in a ziplock bag and put it on my porch and emailed instructions to the rideshare company on how the errant rider should retrieve her property from under my door mat.

Without complete information this situation might not seem so bad to you. But how would you feel (as a suburbanite) about driving into one of the most dangerous and violent neighborhoods in Chicago to retrieve your property? A neighborhood that you talk about avoiding in platitudes with your friends, and never visit?

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Chicago’s 15th police district is action-packed!

This could all have been avoided if the riders listened to me when I asked them not to sit in the way back of my vehicle.  When I scanned my backseat, I would have seen the mobile phone at their destination and alerted my passengers to my finding their mobile phone- however, the way back of my vehicle was not within my view.

Would I have delivered the phone back to the riders that night before driving home?  It is a real possibility! The previous month I delivered a purse to a rider’s hotel, just before 2:00a.m. In that instance I received a thank you from the rideshare company the next day.  As drivers, we are not required to stop working, or what we are doing, to deliver your property back to you, should you leave it in our vehicle.

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Murphy’s Law is defined as: Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. You’ll lose your phone, and you’ll have to retrieve it within a run-down, crime-ridden neighborhood, deep in Chicago’s west side which has seen little outside investment since the white-flight of the 1960s.

Moral of this story: be on your best behavior in your driver’s vehicle.

My 5:30a.m. Monday morning ride was unusually exciting: crotch punches and presumably nightclub PEDs by a couple that had not slept yet

My most exciting Monday morning ride included crotch punches!

Monday mornings are often a drag

Starting the day driving rideshare super-early can be a drag, or it can be invigorating, it’s what one makes of it.  After doing a rather quick carpool, I was in downtown Chicago, with no traffic, no weather, and morning-person energy.

My West Loop riders were not airport bound (Yes!)

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My next ping (5:30a.m.) took me to the West Loop where I patiently waited for my rider.  Having noticed that this was not a trip to either O’Hare (ORD) or Midway (MDW), a smile washed across my face.

My riders were not done partying yet

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The riders were presumably boyfriend and girlfriend, were dressed for the clubs and were clearly not done partying yet.  Both were intoxicated, the female rider a bit more intoxicated than her male companion.  They whispered to each other a few times, something about sex was muttered and then a quick discussion about their mutual distaste for the newly opened Concrete Cowboy Bar.

Being extremely familiar with the Chicago foodie culture, dance clubs, and miscellaneous attractions in downtown Chicago, I injected myself into the conversation, and stated, “But it has a Late Hour license, right?”- trying to ferret out at least one positive trait about the new tavern.  While they did agree- they and I knew that there were several other Late Hour licenses (that are better) within walking distance of the Concrete Cowboy Bar.

CROTCH PUNCHING

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I used that Late Hour license bit of interaction to segway into a probing conversation:

Driver: “Where were you guys hanging out tonight?”

Woman: “We didn’t sleep, sex? We didn’t have sex.”

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Man: [inaudible comments]

Woman: “No, we didn’t have sex, we tried to sleep.”

Man: [inaudible comments] “Sex.”

***Woman lifts fist into the air and quickly slams fist into man’s genitalia***

Driver: “That’s true love right there.” [sarcasm intended]

**Woman pauses, lifts fist into air, slams fist into man’s genitalia five (5) consecutive times**

Man: “Do it again, you know I like it. Felt good.”

*Woman, lifts fist into the air, raining down hammer-fist-punches to her boyfriend’s genitalia five (5) more consecutive times*

The woman put everything she had into those crotch punches.  The full force of a 130 pound woman slamming her closed fists into her boyfriend’s junk could have been mood altering for the man, but he was unphased.

Did she miss the target?  I am certain some of the punches were off-target, and had she wiffed on all of those hammer-fists, her boyfriend would have told her as much.

Our friends are in from Los Angeles, let’s party!

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They continued to tell me that they had friends in from Los Angeles and that they were going to continue to party with them.  Without asking about alcohol, I was sure I knew what they implied.

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When we arrived at their Humboldt Park destination, I gave them brief directions to the residential staircase.

Thanks for the best posssible Monday morning ride a rideshare driver could hope for! Maybe next time we can draft more people into a one-sided game of Roshambo.

What Happened When My 4.2 Starred Rider Accused Me Of Battery And Refused To Exit My Car, or The Worst Possible Customer in the World

My rider had a 4.2 rating and I accepted the ride which turned out to be a mistake as I ended up calling 911

Before I accepted the ping

In the previous week I had 2 Line / Pool rides where the rider made a decision to not count their infant baby as a human. At those moments I exhibited a scarcity mentality (regarding rides), did not challenge the rider, and drove them to the arranged location.

On this day, I ended up in Evanston during a busy college tavern time and I was happy until my next Line/Pool ride took me out of Evanston and into the far north side. They were fine except it was 3 people, yet 2 people is the maximum in a Line/Pool. That act got under my skin. I scored them 3.0 stars and left a note in the app purposing my score.

Immediately after dropping them off at a tavern, I received a new ping.

Rating of 4.2 Stars

The next ping had a rating of 4.2 stars.  This is the lowest rating that I have ever seen and yet, I smirked and said to myself ‘this will be fun’ as I accepted the ping. (What a horrendous decision that was!!!)

It is difficult for me to stress to you how abysmally low a 4.2 star rating is, except to say that I don’t recall seeing anything lower than a 4.6 or a 4.7.

Allow me tell you, dear reader, I can easily tell the difference between a 4.9 and a 4.8 rated rider.  The gulf between the two is immense; a 4.7 will drop backhanded compliments and have insults sprinkled into conversation. 4.7‘s often lack standard socialization and conversational skills.

The app made a recommendation to me

My rider comes to the car with an infant carrier in tow.  She plunked the carrier in the middle of my back seat without securing it as she didn’t have a base to secure it (FYI: that’s illegal in Illinois).

When riders get into my vehicle on a Line/Pool ride, I need to select “1 passenger” or “2 passengers” so the app can correctly route me to more riders during the trip.  This is so the app understands how many people are in the vehicle and how many more people are eligible to be added.  I pressed “2 passengers” on the app, and the app responds with “the passenger must cancel the ride” or something to that affect.

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A metaphoric bomb exploded when I told her to cancel the ride

A metaphoric bomb exploded in my vehicle when I politely told her that she would need to cancel the ride as she and the baby are two people.

In less than 30 seconds she veered from loudly complaining that she shouldn’t be charged and blathering about how I was going to take her home to general incoherence.

So I cancelled the ride.

The bomb became nuclear when I told her to get out of my car as the ride was cancelled

I told her that she needed to get out of my car, and she outright refused!

What would you do if someone refused to get out of your vehicle?

“STOP HITTING ME!” “DON’T PULL ME OUT OF THE CAR!” “DON’T HIT MY BABY!” “YOU’RE HURTING ME!” “I’M PREGNANT! DON’T HURT ME OR MY BABY!” was all screamed toward me in a foreign accent.

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As the situation escalates, what do you do?

Fight, Flight, or Freeze?

I froze.

Its at this point that I realize that I am dealing with the worst type of an excuse for a human. The probability of me being arrested or spending the night in jail had increased to somewhere around 1 in 100. I hadn’t touched her or made a motion toward her.  I simply cancelled the ride and told her to exit my vehicle.

(As of this writing, I see that her ride would cost her about $7.00.)

My decision tree was limited at this point.

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The wretched human in my backseat then faux called 9-11 (I later figured this out based on context), and she complained to the ghost operator that I was beating her and her infant child. It was surreal.

She then called her husband and kept pushing her phone at me while shouting “TALK TO MY HUSBAND!”

Me: “Nah, I’m not talking to him.” [twice]

Why would I talk to someone who willfully married a mentally unfit sociopath? What helpful insight could that person provide to me during this nightmare?

Difficulties on the telephone; can you hear me now?

During her shouting episode, I tried calling the rideshare emergency help line. After waiting for 3 minutes to speak with someone, I hung up, and dialed 9-11 and exited my own vehicle. By the way, she was still screaming at me which made it nearly impossible to tell if the voice on the line was a live person or a recording, which necessitated me abandoning my property.

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I gave the 9-11 operator the wrong address and the dispatcher hollered at me as the address I gave her was not in Chicago. I asked a passerby for help, and he did give me the address and seemed mildly interested in assisting me. Because I was carrying on 2 conversations, and I determined that the 9-11 call was paramount, the passerby eventually moved along.

Make her ears bleed?

After the call to 9-11 I got back in the car only to be berated further.  I thought about what I could do to make sitting in my car an uncomfortable experience- the only thing that popped into my brain was turning on the Pantera Pandora channel and blaring it to uncomfortable levels.  Lucky for her, she had her infant in the vehicle, so this idea did not enter the implementation stage.

Chicago Police arrived!

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A Chicago Police cruiser pulled ahead of me relatively quickly.  After exiting my vehicle and flagging them down, the officer on the passenger side rolled down her window, and I explained the circumstances:

  1. I’m a rideshare driver
  2. I cancelled the ride
  3. She won’t get out of my car
  4. She falsely accused me of bludgeoning her and her infant
  5. I called 9-11

The Chicago police quickly consulted and questioned both me and the cancelled passenger. She says something about the $5.00 cancellation fee and both the officers look at me like I have her 5 dollar bill in my back pocket to hand right back to her.

Me: “That’s between her and the rideshare company.”

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The Police get both of our stories and confer with one another.

Dear reader, how should the Chicago Police handle this situation?

What’s the solution to this ridesharing dilemma?

The Chicago Police suggested to the passenger that they transport her and her infant in its infant car seat (without its base) to her destination in their CPD SUV. This was 100% what I was hoping for.

Yet she refused the officers’ solution and continued to refuse to exit my vehicle. Rather, she demanded that I, the rideshare driver (whom she outrageously and wrongfully alleged had committed violence against her AND her infant), drive them home. Seriously, WTF?!

Please diagnose her mental condition in the comment section below.

The male officer comes back to me and speaks under his breath about how she’s accused me of some serious stuff and that if I drive her, they’ll tail me and intervene should their assistance be warranted.  He followed up the solution with a final comment about not egging her on.

Me: “I just want this nightmare to end.”

I drove the mentally unstable sociopath passenger and her infant to their home. The Police followed, as promised. I turned Pandora off and said nothing on the 8 minute trip to her home. Somewhere in the middle of the ride she complained about the potholes I had run over. That’s indicative of why she’s a 4.2.

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I dropped the passenger off and she thanked me/someone (!). I never even looked in the rear-view mirror so I think its just as likely that she was talking to her invisible friend on the sidewalk.

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The Police debriefed me after I dropped her off and said that this type of work- rideshare driving- was a poor vocational choice on my part as there exist many illogical, impossible, manipulative, and unruly passengers, just like her.

More time wasted on the telephone

I drove to a nearby parking lot and called the rideshare emergency help line.  While on hold, I typed out a ‘help email’ to the rideshare company, because why not?  After being on hold for 9 minutes I talked to a representative for 20 minutes.

If its an emergency, shouldn’t you pick up within the first 3 rings?

During the call and in my ‘help email’, I listed out all the issues that I need addressed. Over 80 hours, and 4 followup emails later, and I have heard zero from the rideshare company.

My thoughts on the riders

That infant and the supposed embryo have a tough road ahead.  The genes they have inherited are deficient and their environment is a septic tank of awful manners, horrendous communication, and the worst of humanity.

Please leave a comment and mental diagnosis of the passenger described, in the comment section below:

 

Lyft Line and Uber Pool Etiquette Guide for Passengers/ Riders

An etiquette guide for the Uber Poolers and Lyft Liners out there, written by a driver who loves Pool and Line rides

Time or Money?

When it comes to ridesharing, ask yourself this question: which am I interested in saving:

1. Time or

2. Money?

Because you can’t save both simultaneously.

If saving time is your primary objective, do not under any circumstances select Uber Pool or Lyft Line. Pick UberX, an upgraded Uber, Lyft classic, or an upgraded Lyft.

If you are interested in saving money, Pool or Line could suit you. But there are other caveats that you are consenting to when you make this choice. Hence the pricing difference. The purpose of this Lyft Line and Uber Pool Etiquette Guide is to help both you and your driver be satisfied with your choice.

 

I have ordered an Uber Pool or Lyft Line ride on my mobile device, what should I do next?

You should have already paid your bar tab, you should have already hugged everyone in your party goodbye, and you should be ready to exit your location and get into my vehicle within a moment’s notice. Why you might ask?

After I arrive at your selected location a 2 minute timer will begin, and the apps both prompt me to leave and cancel your ride if you are a “no-show” after that time period has elapsed. You will be charged $5.00 if I determine you are a “no-show”.

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$5.00  is normally more than what I will receive if I complete a Pool or Line ride on your behalf ($3.75 net after Uber’s 25% fee). I will not hesitate to cancel and collect. Nothing against you, its purely a business decision.

As a passenger, what do I do upon entering your vehicle?

Greet me and the other passengers. I will say my name first and greet you, so you will know that you are getting into the correct (or incorrect) vehicle.

Do not talk on your mobile phone while riding. This is a community ride and engaging in polite conversation with the other riders and myself is expected.

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Where should an Uber Pooler or Lyft Liner sit in your vehicle?

If you are the first passenger to enter the vehicle on either a Pool or Line ride and you are a single rider, ride in the front seat (shotgun). You are riding in the front seat because the next Pool / Line pickup could be a party of 2 (a “double”), and they should be able to sit in the back seat together if they choose.

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If you are the first passenger to enter the vehicle and you are with your declared friend as a “double,” you and your friend can sit where ever you see fit.

Keep your backpack on your lap, no manspreading, and follow the golden rule.

Trifecta rides (3 different parties) happen frequently. Be prepared to sit uncomfortably in the back seat with other strangers for 30 minutes or longer.  This is a feature of Pool and Line, not a bug, as you have prioritized cost over all considerations.

I am already a passenger in Pool / Line ride, my driver has waited significantly longer than the 2 minute limit for the next rider, what should I do?

I suspect that your driver is brand new and not familiar with the ins and outs of the app. Politely mention to your driver that s/he can collect the “no-show” fee, when s/he hits the “cancel no-show” prompt.

When I was a new driver I was not familiar with the “no-show” fee. A passenger politely prompted me, and I was pleased with the result.

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Are any conversation topics frowned upon during a Pool / Line rides?

Yes. Don’t be a dick and follow the golden rule.

As a Pooler or Liner, may I change my drop-off location or add an additional stop?

No. Cancel your ride before you get in my vehicle and eat the cancellation fee. Changes cannot be made through the app, and I will not honor your verbal request for an amendment.

Can I eat, drink, or smoke during a Pool / Line ride?

No. If you cannot do something on the buses or trains within the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), why would you be able to do it in someone’s private vehicle?

That said, if the driver hands out candy or bottled water, have at it while in the vehicle.

I am a new parent and want to ride with my infant child in a Pool / Line

I hope that you, as a responsible parent selected a “double!” An infant, a baby, or a toddler of any size legally requires a properly installed car seat. A car seat takes up a spot in the my vehicle and potentially prevents me from properly executing a Pool or Line ride. If you think keeping your child, or your infant car seat, on your lap is an appropriate accommodation, it is not. Children kick and squirm and are not generally known for sitting still. It is impolite to the other Pool/Line riders, and it may prevent me from best fitting the maximum number of people into my compact car.

If you bring your own car seat, it normally takes longer than 2 minutes for you to secure the car seat base into my car, so pick UberX or Classic Lyft, not Pool or Line as other passengers will be inconvenienced.

Should I complain to my driver and offer a better route than the GPS?

No. Uber Pool and Lyft Line rides are optimized to pick up more passengers.

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As a rider, you might be curious why I am not taking the interstate as its quicker than the local lanes. Rest assured that as your driver, I have been taken out of the decision making process by the rideshare company.  Drivers must take the optimized route as determined by an algorithm.

Should I complain and tell my driver to not pick up additional riders?

No. As your driver, I have no choice. Uber and Lyft automatically add additional riders to an ongoing Pool or Line ride at their convenience and without my consent.

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You should be able to see that other riders were added to your ride on your mobile phone app. Each company’s algorithm, not your driver, or  vocal passengers, determines pickups.

Do I Tip My Driver as a Pooler or Liner?

Yes! Tipping is a pervasive cultural norm in the United States of America. Despite what any rideshare company has messaged to you or has messaged in the past, and despite your beliefs to the contrary, tipping is expected.

Liners have the tipping option e-mailed to them, and it is typical for a $2.00 Line rider to tip an additional $5.00. It seems odd, but it happens a lot.

For social proof, I have provided a link to a comprehensive tipping guide for travelers while in the United States of America. For your convenience, here’s an excerpt:

For waiters at sit-down restaurants, bartenders, barbers/hairdressers/attendants at beauty salons, taxi drivers, tour guides, and food delivery folks, the tip should be calculated as a percentage of your total bill as follows: 10% usually means you aren’t totally happy, 15% usually means all was acceptable, 20% for excellent, over 20% for outstanding.  15-20 percent is considered standard in most communities.

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As drivers, we have the obligation after every ride to score the rider and many of us downgrade your star rating for lack of a cash tip. While you are exiting my vehicle I might score you a 5, but will email the company later to update with a lower star rating.

literally judge you as a rider.

Tell me more about my Rider rating

This is the topic of a future article on Stick Shift Lyft. But here’s a teaser to whet your appetite:

Most riders have a 4.8 or 4.9. A rating of 5.0 generally means that you are new rider and have not had many ratings. While there is robust driver debate, any rider with 4.7 or below is a signal from other drivers that the rider is not worth the time or effort to pickup.

When I know the rider’s rating in advance, I can oftentimes see the personality traits and conversational quirks that manifest a rating of 4.8 or lower.

What do driver’s think of Pool / Line rides?

Based on social media and message boards the consensus is that most drivers dislike Line and Pool rides as they are routinely disadvantageous financially.  Pool/Line rides could be overwhelming for drivers who lack the ability to effectively communicate in dynamic situations and are not social butterflies.

Personally, I LOVE Pool/Line rides.  I drive Lyft and Uber to meet people, have interesting conversations, and make money on the side. Pool/Line rides allow me to meet more people, enjoy many more discussions, and learn new things.

Further, in the Chicago market, drivers are paid bonuses based on the number of rides they complete each week. Pool/Line rides allow me to hit the bonus requirements faster.

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Travelers

“Its not where you’re from, its where you’re at!” -D.J. Kool

The following list includes rider self-reported state of origin, and is not comprehensive:

International travelers prior to February 2017*

Sweden: mentioned that he used rideshare in 5 different countries. Has no opinion on Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize in Literature.

New Zealand: professor of economics, we discussed firearms, murder, concealed carry permits, and how it all relates to Chicago.

Australia: talked about names and naming.

Republic of Cameroon: the woman went to a salon in Chicago and the hairdresser told her that she lacked the requisite tools to work on her hair. She left disappointed and dejected.

Mexico City, Mexico: They were very cold at 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and were curious why the Loop was dead on a Sunday.

Toronto, Canada: Made a recommendation to Restaurant Row on Randolph Street.  When discussing the weather I made a mental note to learn conversions between Fahrenheit and Celsius. Note to self: To convert temperatures in degrees from Fahrenheit to Celsius, subtract 32 and multiply by .5556 (or 5/9)]

Hong Kong: Conversation surrounded comparisons of Hong Kong and Chicago. Rider told me that English is a primary language in Hong Kong as it was once subject to British colonialism.

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Domestic travelers prior to February 2017*

Long Island, New York: we discussed the American Dream Dusty Rhodes, the Nature Boy Ric Flair, the multiple personalities of Mick Foley, Professional Wrestling and this.

Ohio: Many riders. We discuss Believeland, the Cleveland Browns, LeBron James, and the Great Lakes.

Michigan: Many riders. Discussion topics have included Windsor, Ontario, the Detroit Lions, Barry Sanders, and college football.

California: The business travelers discuss a wide range of topics. The recreational travelers need dinner recommendations that do not include cheese casserole.

Massachusetts: Tom Brady, the New England Patriots, and the guru Bill Belichick.

*These lists will continue to be edited

 

Suffering through the Holiday Season

A rider left her beloved family just before the holidays to treat her addiction

2 days before December 25, 2016 I drove a delighted dad to a BMW dealership in the northern suburbs.  We stopped at his bank first where he either acquired a substantial cashier’s check or other currency for a down payment on his new vehicle.  We enjoyed a fantastic conversation about his 2-year old son and his 6-year old daughter. He had determined that baby boys and baby girls are very different and described his son as a “wild animal”.

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Further he indicated that his wife had a birth control injection which should have prevented her from having anymore children, after her daughter…

Before leaving the dealership, I turned on both rideshare apps, hoping that a request would hit in the next 15 minutes.  Being so far north, miles from civilized society where there exists 10,000 people per square mile, rideshare is less popular and riders (also adventures) are often scarce.  Before I was out of the dealership parking lot I accepted a request.  The way to the pickup location was 7 minutes, which left plenty of time for a cancellation.

Suburbia is so strange and nuanced .  The drivers in Winnetka are apparently lazy or angry about scratched bumpers, as there were twin parking spaces buttressed by X’d out “no parking” spaces.  In other words a curb that could easily house 20 parked vehicles could now legally park about 12 vehicles due to the “no parking” restrictions.  All the parking spots near my pickup location were taken.  Simply put, my determination was to misunderstand the suburb’s intent, and then I double-parked with my hazards flashing.

The people who honked at me ought to rethink the artificial scarcity of parking spots in their suburb.

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While illegally parked I reviewed the profile picture of my rider hugging her daughter closely. It was clearly a loving embrace.  Further, and to my complete elation, my rider was headed back to the heart of Chicago! It was a perfect match, as I wouldn’t need to endure more misplaced suburban parking angst.

After 3 minutes of waiting my rider arrived to my vehicle with a large suitcase and wearing a Chicago Police stocking hat.

After she got in I thanked her for taking me back to Chicago, and we were on our way. I knew the area where she was heading and inquired if she was going to the Green Line stop. She responded that it was nearby.

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“Are you a police officer?” I asked- she responded that it was only a “warm hat”; even before that comment it seemed she was not interested in talking and didn’t force anything. Despite the lack of dialogue in the vehicle, I pointed out a few interesting things including a 5′ tall snowman in Humboldt Park that hadn’t yet melted, but nothing seemed to elicit a smirk.

43 minutes after the trip started I was dropping her off at The Women’s Treatment Center.

At that point it hit me that she left her family just ahead of the holidays to seek addiction treatment.  I thought about her daughter in her profile picture and how she hugged her, and how impossibly difficult it must have been for her to leave her family to seek addiction treatment during that time of year. She is a strong woman and I hope her treatment is successful.

Media Fasting Works Until You Talk To Other People Around You

Last night I had a handful of pickups, a below-average night, but rather routine for a Monday night. Each and every single one of my Lyft pickups mentioned the hullabaloo that’s happening now within the love triangle of national politics, Uber, and Lyft.

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My last Lyft rider asked if I had many Lyft riders new to the platform that day.  I responded that although I was on a strict media fast for over 45 days, I’d become well-aware of the political situation, and that every Lyft rider was asking similar questions.  He then mentioned that I was his 2nd Lyft driver ever. We shared discussion about both of the rideshare companies. Then he told me that up until recently he was going to take a customer service job with Uber as it paid more than he was making at his current call center sales gig- no longer was that to be the case- he had completely dropped the idea of working for Uber.  At the conclusion of our ride, he stated that during both his Lyft rides he had accumulated more information about the companies and their processes than during his many Uber rides.

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As a 1099 contractor of both Lyft and Uber, I am loving that competition is getting red-hot between the main rideshare rivals. I enjoy nothing more than meeting new riders and discussion, this hullabaloo will only make the conversations more fruitful and interesting. As a political animal whose favorite spectator sport used to be Chicago politics, I am slowly and reluctantly getting back into it!

Are you interested in fasting from all forms of media? Please leave a comment below.