UpLyfting Thoughts #1

This is the start of a brand new series at the Not Now Silly Newsroom, now using our new mobile facilities. The Grey Ghost roams 3 South Florida counties: Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach. On the road there’s a lot of time to think. UpLyfting Thoughts are jotted down as they happen, or reconstructed later.

I’ve been driving for Lyft for 3 weeks. If I had to make snap judgements (without being judgemental):

About 80% of my clients are POC, whether Black, Latino, or Asian. My brother-in-law who drives elsewhere in the country tells me his numbers are reversed. It’s all about local demographics;

70% of my Black passengers — men and women — wear dreads, some of them fabulously;

About 75% of my clients are under 30;

It’s about equally 50% men vs. women.

I drove cab for several years in Toronto and there are some distinct differences. To begin with the relationship is different. When people got in my cab, suddenly I was working for them. With Lyft, however, there’s a level of trust because both sides are vetted. My passengers know The Grey Ghost and I had to jump through a number of regulatory hoops to become a certified, including a  background check and mechanical inspection. Pretty well anybody can become a cab driver. [TO BE FAIR: You need to take a course and then a test to become a Toronto cabbie. Or, at least you did when I did it.]

On the opposite side of the street, I also know that my customers are vetted. Lyft has their address, phone number, and credit card number on file. Nobody’s going to take a runner. Whenever I drop my passenger I press a button and get to rate my clients on a system of 1 to 5 stars. They also get to rate me on the same scale when they leave my car. If my rating drops below a certain line, I can be delisted.

Everyone on both sides of the equation understands that I am providing a needed service. There’s a totally different level of respect than my passengers had for cab drivers.

And, The Grey Ghost is nicer than any cab I’ve ever driven.

Tune in for other action-packed episodes of UpLyfting Thoughts, as the NNS Mobile Newsroom™ gives a Lyft to those who need one. Happy motoring and back to the freeway which is already in progress.

About Headly Westerfield

Calling himself “A liberally progressive, sarcastically cynical, iconoclastic polymath,” Headly Westerfield has been a professional writer all his adult life.