Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Respecting cab drivers

Lyft drivers complain about cab drivers treating them bad. On the flip side, cab drivers dislike Lyft. Lyft riders are easily detectable with their Pink mustaches affixed to the front grill, on the top of the car, on the dashboard or anywhere the drivers place this company slogan. Taxi drivers have showed their disgust that ridesharing companies are stealing their revenue by taking valuable customers.

There is a lot of complaining going on between cab and ride-sharing companies. What people don't think is that passengers use all services. If a cab is nearby, passengers will flag them down. Whenever a passenger needs a ride from the Sunset to downtown, a Lyft or Sidecar is the best option. The most common complaint of riders is that taxi drivers refuse to drive out to the Sunset. As ride-sharing drivers, you probably notice many taxis cruising along Lincoln Way to drop passengers off at their destinations along the residential area, located in the avenue streets.  

Maybe these passengers experienced previous conflict where a cab stiffed them from getting a ride to or from the Sunset. We see cabbies drive in the furthest, outermost parts of the city. This claim that cab drivers avoid the Sunset is inaccurate, especially since there are more cab drivers than ride-sharing drivers cruising Lincoln Way. The same can be said about the Richmond District, as well. 

Cab drivers get a bad wrap for working their tails off. They have to pay a rental fee to drive a taxi. There are dispatcher tips, gas cost, possible late charges, and tips involved, all which make earning decent income an insurmountable challenge. On one regular Saturday evening, we heard of ridesharing drivers earning $316 for 6.1 hours of work and only spending $65 in gas and $12 in tolls. This driver took two long rides, one to Mountain View and another toward the East Bay, near the 680 side by Walnut Creek and Alamo area. After gas and toll expenses, this ridesharing driver earned $238.

After reading a story of a cab driver working on New Year's Eve who completed over 40 rides, and paid out $120 in fees to multiple people and only making $300, this made us respect cab drivers a lot more than we previously did. Working 10 hours hauling people around the city, on the busiest night of the year for $300, deserves great respect. It is not easy to drive passengers with multiple personalities, especially with adding drunk riders into the mix.  

Ridesharing drivers get frustrated when cab drivers attempt to make them crash into them, as a ploy to get these drivers into trouble. These cabbie give ridesharing drivers dirty stares, knowing that they work as a Lyft driver. Because these dorky Pink mustaches reveal their cover, there was no ideal way to hide from cab drivers. On one particular night, ridesharing could watch three taxi cabs run red lights,simultaneously, to avoid waiting another 2-3 minutes to catch the next green light. Some Lyft passengers would complain that some taxi drivers made them feel unsafe for driving out of control.  

We understand cab drivers who depend on their taxi jobs to survive. Many Lyft drivers use lyfting as extra money - to supplement their primary income. It is not even fair, as the disparity between cab drivers and ride-sharing services involve numerous expenses. Cab drivers pay rental fees, whereas ridesharing drivers incur high maintenance costs. Taxis pay high insurance premiums to protect themselves in case of an untimely accident. 

Ride-sharing drivers do take risks to drive their personal vehicles, and this is done in a hotly contested transportation market. There is always a chance a drunk passenger may vomit inside their vehicles to prematurely end their work week. Furthermore, accidents are inevitable if drivers refuse to drive defensively. 

Homeless people and drunks tend to wonder off into the street. Worst of all, these individuals choose to enter busy intersections, while the light is still green. Imagine if a Lyft driver is having a conversation with a passenger, and then they turn their head for one split second. This action could become deadly in a matter of seconds. 

A lot can happen in a split second, where it's possible that an intoxicated, homeless or a disabled person, or any other individual, could collide with ridesharing vehicles. Even if these accidents are not their fault, nobody in their right mind wants to ever hit another person with their car. It is the moral rule to respect all living things. Drivers take that risk, driving often in the busy downtown San Francisco streets and on longer trips into the Bay Area. 

Everybody is rushing to reach their destination. Partygoers are likely to binge drink, mixing every type of alcoholic drink known within the drinking community. Bartenders are probably going to make hundreds of dollars mixing up drinks and serving beers and wines. Therefore, a drunk passenger may vomit inside ridesharing cars on New Year's Eve. Think about how much money a driver can lose during a 3X price hike. This would be devastating, almost a disaster if there ever was a destructive client/rider/passenger vomiting in cars and puncturing a driver's pocket to make them bleed out their potential earnings.   

The moral of this post is to demonstrate that cab drivers must work much harder than ride-sharing drivers to earn money. They endure long hours to make $300. However, Lyft drivers, such as one named Brandon, claim to have earned $516 during a 13-hour shift. This Brandon driver posted his earnings on Facebook, gloating that business remained the same as usual, and that drivers must show more effort to make money. A former Lyft driver can longer view this daily earning report because they don't work for Lyft anymore. 

Taxi drivers are unlikely to earn that much money working fewer hours. According to another taxi driver, making $200-$300 in a shift is a challenge. These drivers must pay for taxi rentals, tip the dispatcher, fill-up the gas tank, and cover other expenses. Ride-sharing drivers incur gas, maintenance cost, insurance, toll, and other fees. Who is really winning the competition? 

According to a former programmer's article, he shares a breakdown of what it costs to become a Lyft driver, and whether this is worth the gamble. It makes sense that you won't make a profit ridesharing services unless you use a personal vehicle you already own, rather than buy one to perform this services. 

If you use a vehicle with low gas mileage, you will not make a profit. The cost to perform repairs could cut into your earnings, as brakes, oil changes, transmission change, tune-ups, tires, and other requirements are necessary. Driving in the city of San Francisco is rough on vehicles. 

Taxi drivers pay rental fees to drive cabs. However, these drivers don't need to worry if these taxicabs breaks down. A ride-sharing driver could be out of work for quite some time, if their transmission dropped or an engine malfunctioned. 

According to a past Lyft rider, Uber drivers pay a monthly rental fee to drive town cars. Rental fees are worth the risk, though slow nights will eliminate profit.  

Cab drivers are not as bad as Lyft drivers and passengers claim. These traditional drivers must invest a lot of money into their taxi business. Nonetheless, ride-sharing drivers are making decent money using various peer-to-peer mobile apps designed to connect them with passengers.  

The real winners are taxi drivers, not ride-sharing drivers. We must both share the roads to avoid conflict, which can cause political backlash in the transportation industry. If ridesharing drivers perform their jobs and do them respectfully, the dislike between the two industries will dissipate. 

Be safe on New Year's Eve and take advantage of the surge in business. There is plenty of money to go around on New Year's Eve. Happy 2014!  

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