What it took to push liberal Lyft riders back into Uber's arms
It took me a few days to figure out there was an Uber consumer boycott going on, and about a week before the Uber bings picked back up again. It seems to me that some riders had noble intentions of showing their displeasure with the Donald Trump refugee ban. But in the end, they just needed any excuse to feel like it was OK to go back to using Uber. The major reason? Lyft just takes too long. Most Uber passengers are now spoiled by the quick pick-up times, at least where I drive in the Tampa area. With Lyft, the wait time is often 15 to 25 minutes.
I used to remain neutral on political matters, understanding the old rule of avoiding topics related to politics, religion and vegetarianism. Who doesn’t like a good cheeseburger sub from my hometown in Maryland? Well, evidently not the vegans riding in my car. But I digress. An Uber passenger told me her friends were deleting their Uber app because Uber drivers continued giving rides during a work stoppage at JFK International Airport. As an Uber driver, I definitely noticed a decrease in rides. So, I bailed and switched on my Lyft app. During the week I drove for Lyft, I heard a lot of political views. I’m the kind of driver who switches my political views to match the views of my passenger. With Lyft, this paid off with better tips. With Uber, I found most passengers just really don’t care about politics. They just want to get to their McJobs, community college or a sporting event downtown. Most Uber passengers do not tip me. The ones who do tip me are not the people you would expect to tip such as the 27-year-old woman tonight who needed a ride back to drug rehab where she was staying off crystal meth and spice.
As far as the Delete Uber campaign, it forced me out of my Uber comfort zone. For a few days, I switched back and forth between Lyft and Uber until the controversy settled down. While driving for Uber, I picked up a Chinese student attending the University of South Florida as part of an international program. She told me the Trump policies would likely mean she can’t stay in the United States after completing her master’s degree in finance. She had expected to stay and work in finance in the U.S. after graduating. She did not feel any animosity toward Uber drivers or any ill will toward the company. Meanwhile, Lyft passengers told me they did not like that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick was on an economic advisory council for Trump. Of course, we now know Kalanick stepped down. I’m not sure how serving on an advisory council or board means a person agrees with the President. Does talking to Trump mean you support him? I met Trump in the 1990s when he was a judge for the Miss U.S.A pageant in Gary, Indiana. Just because I covered the pageant for the daily newspaper doesn’t mean I agreed with Trump’s agenda at the time to promote his casinos in poor areas or that I championed beauty pageants. But I forgot. We live in a world where people don’t think for themselves. If a friend tells you to delete your Uber app, you do it perhaps without thinking about the fact that many of the drivers are in fact immigrants who need to make a living. When I met Trump, I didn’t know anything about narcissistic personality disorder, but I knew about the objectification of women and feminism. I simply balanced that out with the fact that pageants are fun for some people and draw tourism. Trump was just playing the game at that time. He is still playing the game, but now his casino is not on Lake Michigan but is the entire world.
As an Uber driver, I no longer notice the effects of the #DeleteUber campaign. If I drive for Lyft, I’ll hear more political talk. Lyft passengers tend to head toward St. Pete as opposed to Tampa, which isn’t surprising since St. Petersburg is more liberal. I’ve yet to hear any passenger (Lyft or Uber) sing the praises of Trump. One passenger half-heartedly said Trump is a good businessman, but then his enthusiasm fizzled out as he couldn’t think of anything specific.
Generally, the Lyft passengers are dedicated so much to their liberal views that they are willing to wait the extra few minutes to get a Lyft ride. Some people just aren’t as focused. For example, a sweet student who attends the University of Tampa told me she tried Lyft, but got a driver who did not speak English. She said he started to take the toll road before realizing he might have to pay a toll. He actually backed up on the toll road ramp with other cars beeping at him. “We are going to die,” she thought to herself. As soon as she saw a store, she asked him to drop her off. After she got out of the vehicle, she called for an Uber. Of course, the fact that he was a bad driver had little to do with Lyft or Uber, but she had the perception that Uber drivers are safer. Most passengers are not willing to die for a political stand. And they certainly aren’t willing to wait more than a few minutes for that bargain ride to the Seminole Hard Rock Casino.
Uberhousewife takes a break from cleaning her house, cooking and doing laundry by driving Uber passengers who don't have the nerve to complain about "women drivers." She believes the recent complement she received for "good navigation skills" was made in jest by a rider. If you would like to write a blog on your experiences driving for Uber, contact us at email@example.com.
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