Do You Even Lyft?

Lyft and Uber are bigger than ever. What does that mean for us? How do you choose what to use?

A lot of my friends in Los Angeles are selling their cars and opting for alternative forms of transportation including ride sharing apps, the new Metro Line, and other forms of public transit. When you total up a year’s worth of monthly payments, car insurance, gas, parking permits and fees (not including unexpected repairs and regular maintenance), the average Californian is dishing out an upwards of $4,000 a year on personal automobile transportation. That’s a lot of money to keep your driver freedom (and for some it is entirely worth it). Robert Hampshire, a professor at UMTRI and lead author of a new study regarding increase in rideshare use and decrease in personal vehicle use from stated, “Our findings show that these ride-sourcing companies do change behaviors.”

Currently there are about 15 major Rideshare apps available in the City of Angels. Uber currently holds 80% of the ride-sharing market while Lyft holds about 10%- the other 10% is made up of the smaller start up ride-sharing apps like Gett, Sidecar, & Flywheel. So how do you choose? I did the research, and even got Lyft & Uber driver approved to see the difference and here is what I found out…

Registering with Uber…
I went to register with Uber and have my vehicle inspected at a parking lot in Burbank. It seemed that every Taxi driver and I had the same idea. We stood in lines, showed our identification & insurance, filled out a W-9, and then had our cars inspected in about 15 minutes. I was in and out in about an hour with minimal questioning after presenting the concrete paperwork demonstrating I had no criminal record and I possessed valid license, registration, and insurance. The people were nice and informative if I asked questions, but it was strictly business- in and out.

Registering with Lyft…
I registered with Lyft and it created an appointment with a driver mentor as the next step in the approval process (as of July 31 this program is terminated, however I enjoyed it and found it very helpful). The Mentor is an experienced driver who has positive passenger feedback and high ratings. They conduct a vehicle inspection, take pictures of you, your car, and license plates for your profile, and then go on a 15 minute test drive with you. The experience was easy, very personal, and efficient. Mentors get $35 for each mentor session, which is good initiative and a way for Lyft to get real life feedback about the new potential driver and their attitude, personal interaction skills, and how they would handle various scenarios. It took about an hour to complete, and a few weeks later I was notified regarding my approval to drive for Lyft.

I conducted a few rides on each app and found the clientele to be very different. When I would drive Lyft, it was usually as if I was giving a ride to a friend or colleague. We would chat, it was casual, and I never felt awkward about having someone sit in the back seat, in fact a lot of times they would sit in the front seat with me and we would talk the entire trip. With Uber, the clientele was generally white collar & on the way to work or the airport. They sat in the back and were fine with having minimal interactions. Please keep in mind I am more of a seasoned passenger than a driver for both apps so my experience is limited as a driver. As a passenger, I find Lyft drivers are more outgoing and accommodating, which verifies their message of community. Uber is a pick-up and go service, akin to a private black car or limo service- and let’s face it, you are not usually chit chatting with a limo driver.

I have had more pleasant experiences with Lyft, and that is mainly because of my demographic, as a 27 year old female. After the numerous PR and legal scandals that have surfaced regarding UBER driver malpractice and crime, I err on the side of caution and comfort and continually find myself only clicking the little pink logo on my phone. The recent resignation of Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanick further affirms the corporations instability stemming from inner workplace culture that reportedly includes numerous accounts of sexual harassment and discrimination, as well as reports of aggressively pushing the envelope when dealing with law enforcement. On the other end of the spectrum, Lyft’s VP of ‘People’, Ron Storn states, “We try at Lyft to live by the brand—we treat people better. That is in our external community with drivers and passengers, but also internally in how we support and develop our team members.” Like I said, it is as if you are getting a ride from a friend rather than ordering a taxi, which some passengers would categorize as unprofessional, but most are willing to sacrifice traditional service industry driver-passenger behavior, for comfort and safety.

There is no doubt that part of the difference in type and quality of service results from the rate of growth each corporation has seen since their launch. Uber launched publicly in 2011 with less than 200 employees and now boasts 14,000 global corporate employees, with drivers in more than 81 countries. Uber is valued at $70 billion dollars. In comparison Lyft launched in 2012 and currently has 1,400 corporate employees and drivers in over 300 US cities. Lyft is valued at $7.5 billion. Lyft works on a smaller proportional scale and therefor has more control over its quality and retention of their happy employees and whether corporate or in the field, which resonates with the clients.

In July, Uber announced it’s ‘180 Days of Change’ campaign, aimed at repairing its relationship with drivers, which leaders at the company say is “broken.” One of the first initiatives in instigating an in-app messaging system which protects passenger’s personal phone number from being accessed by the driver, hopefully making a passenger feel safer. On the Lyft side, they are not concerned with re-building their reputation, but rather expanding their on trend image formed by the young clientele by introducing campaigns like “Taco Mode“, that partner with Taco Bell, offering meal-deal incentives for Lyft passengers. The playful promotion aligns with their overall motto of how they treat their customers and employees. A recent survey reveals Lyft drivers are happier than Uber drivers overall, regardless of the difference in pay. Lyft pays drivers slightly more and has a rider minimum, Uber has no rider minimum, meaning drivers can get stuck making a few cents per passenger.

As both companies grow rapidly, they are both steadfast in assuring the public about their image and company ethics as the race continues toward the investment in autonomous driving vehicles. Lyft’s president John Zimmer agrees that car ownership in major cities will be extinct by 2025 — as long as autonomous vehicles emerge as a dominant force as most tech companies expect. “Every year, more and more people are concluding that it is simpler and more affordable to live without a car,” Zimmer wrote last year. “And when networked autonomous vehicles come onto the scene, below the cost of car ownership, most city-dwellers will stop using a personal car altogether.”

So when you go to turn in your keys as ridesharing booms, consider your driver, the company that employs them, and the most important for me personally, driver safety. Uber might be paving the road for autonomous vehicles, with Lyft not far behind, but they are still buried in millions of dollars of lawsuits and PR scandal which should hint at overall company stability and reliability.

What do you choose?

 

 

 

Los Olivos

My first word was “olive”.  My mom & dad would pop black olives on all my fingers and I would repeat “O-live. O-live. O-live.” After dressing my hands in olives for years they finally realized I was just trying to say “I love you”, and subsequently I now have an obsession with olives.

It is odd that with my ‘I Love Olives’ obsession I have never heard much about Los Olivos, in the Santa Ynez valley located 30 miles north-east of Santa Barbara. I am a big fan of local vacations and staycations so when my friends decided we should do a weekend there I was totally game.

Los Olivos began in 1880 on a 5 tree olive farm, and though they grow olives, they are most known for their vineyards. The quaint three block downtown is home to  24 tasting rooms including 10 vineyards that specialize in sparkling wine  (think outdoors Austin TX vibe with music, picnic tables, and string lights).

Los Olivos is also located just 15 minutes from the Dutch town of Solvang and 5 miles south of Neverland Ranch. There is a ton of stuff to do besides eating cheese and drinking like a horse (like horseback riding, making cheese, hot air balloon adventures, and historic museums)

We stayed in the most charming cottage via airb&b and we were walking distance to the Main Street where an olive festival was happening. There is also a Fess Parker there if you want to be extra swanky. Make sure you check out the “bacon steak” at the Brothers Restaurant, Sides Hardware & Shoes (it is exactly what it sounds like). 

If you want to make it a real adventure you can take the  scenic Pacific Coast train from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara and then an amtrak from Santa Barbara to Los Olivos which connects in Solvang. Perfect for a romantic weekend getaway, girls’ retreat, or mother-daughter weekend. [You can go alone too, just that’s sad and I am sorry. Ok it’s not sad, it’s good to have alone time, I just don’t like it because then the voices in my head get too loud]

Solvang
Solvang
Solvang
Los Olivos
Los Olivos
Solvang

RenFair 2017- Angie Verified ✓

SPOTTED: Shi & Knox Pitt out with mom at the SoCal Ren Fair in Irwindale. I missed them by a week. To think I could have been getting my face painted with Knox and throwing tomahawks with Shilo while sipping mead with Angie.  Angie, do you guys need a babysitter?

Do you even need convincing that the RenFaire is the ‘it’ thing to do if it has already been Jolie Verified?

Coachella is so 2015.  Ren Faire is so,  1415 B.C.?  From the fairy costumes, to the music, flower crowns and face paint, sometimes I wasn’t sure which festival I was attending. Though some of you might scoff the idea of going to Ye Old Pleasure Faire rather than attend your ecstasy filled music mecca, here are some reasons that might persuade you to attend the Pleasure Faire in the following years:

1. Thou Art Too Old For Thine Excrement

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As I age like a fine wine, I am less inclined to participate in events where I am continually suffocated between a group of neon clad rave tweens and shirtless sweaty bros wearing Raybans. I understand there are other places to sit and hang, but essentially this is the heart of the Coachella beast, and I for one would choose to avoid this nightmare in the first place.

2. Thine Shallow Bank Account

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Coachella is a blowout of $800 plus for two days. If you want to do it right (and you don’t have the hookup), you are going to spend upwards of up to $1500, if not more. I would rather go to the Renaissance Fair, drink mead and buy jewelry and silver chalices and go to a nice Sushi Dinner later that night. Notice how I capitalized Sushi Dinner ? That is how much sushi means to me. Also check out Broke L.A.  (for next year), previously Brokechella, the low key version of Coachella for people who don’t have the monetary funds or luxury of getting to the mothership.

3. Thy Hearty Edibles

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I know Coachella has better fair than Fyre Fest but I promise it is nothing as good as the selection of Turkey Legs, Gyros and Mediterranean food, Chocolate Covered Bananas,  Candied Almonds, and Pickles (among other things), at the Ren Faire.

4.   Supporting Thou Neighbor

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If you are really into “F-ing the System”, then this is a perfect way to support your local artisans and small businesses.  Coachella has become a mainstream mesh of corporations and media-made-pop culture, so for all of you genuine hipsters out there despising the “man” then this is perfect for you.

6.  Thy Attire
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You might be confused when you see flocks of girls wearing long hippie dresses and flowers crowns, fear not- you are still at Ye Old Pleasure Faire. If not for anything else, go to check out the costumes…

PS: you can rent costumes for the day if you arrive unprepared!

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5. Accessibility

oprahThe Ren Faire has something for all ages, and all types of people. Feel free to bring your Mom, your grandpa, your newborn (we did), your accountant, and your pizza delivery guy. I promise you EVERYONE will have a good time. There are acres upon acres of games, food, music, jousting, shopping, and just the most amazing people watching.

Here I am with a cute barbarian man
Here I am with a cute barbarian man
Here I am after I stole a pig
Here I am after I stole a pig

 

Look, if you think I am hating on Coachella, I am not. I understand the cultural experience and importance. I just think over the years it has been deflated from what it is originally supposed to be, and personally I can’t take dealing with the heat, the crowds, and the idiots. I prefer a small shorter version of that, in which I leave and don’t come back after 5 hours.

The faire runs through May 21st, so there is still time to check it out. Buy tickets and get more info here.

It’s Shmeeeeeeee