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Get $5 Off Lyft Line and Why Some People Hate It (along with UberPool)

SlickDeals has an offer right now that can get you $5 off Lyft Line–Lyft’s version of the UberPool.  Please note, this discount only applies to the ridesharing version of this ride sharing service–in that you are agreeing to share your vehicle with another person in need of a ride.

rental car

These relatively new programs from both are ridesharing for extroverts.  There’s someone in my office who always talks about her UberPool conversations in the elevator.  That’s fine and great.

But not everyone is looking to have a conversation when traveling somewhere.

Jason Koebler wrote about his experiences with “Richard” on Mashable.

Basically, when you call one of these meta-rideshare vehicles (or rideshare^2 if you will), the app looks for another ride for about a minute.  If it doesn’t pair you up with one, it’ll search for another match during the ride.  If it doesn’t find a match, you win!  (Or at least, in my opinion.  Not my coworker’s).

But there can be some… difficulties with these match ups.  In Koebler’s Mashable article, they couldn’t find Richard, the next rider, even though he kept answering his mobile.

I was at the airport once and ended up getting blocked in by an Uber driver who was looking for his UberPool pickup.  The current passenger kept yelling apologies through the car window.  So it seems as if finding a lost pick-up might be a common theme.

Koebler also dives into the problems that these services cause drivers.  According to him, Uber usually ends up paying drivers less for a UberPool ride (whereas Lyft does not for Lyft line).

But the customers’ reactions to the experiences can negatively affect the drivers’ ratings too:

The problem was not Richard, and besides my yelling, the problem wasn’t me. The problem is that UberPOOL and Lyft Line, two services from our ridesharing overlords that take two separate Uber rides and combine them into one, are real life exercises in game theory. Neither you, nor the driver, nor the rideshare company has any idea what the hell your experience is going to be like.

It’s not just the money, however. The uncertainty POOL and Line give passengers is worse for drivers; impatient and clueless passengers are likely to take their bad experiences out on drivers by giving them low ratings, which negatively impact how many rides drivers are able to ultimately get.

Uber drivers regularly report that the first passenger will demand that a driver not pick up the second passenger or the first passenger will get impatient with the other passenger, creating an awkward situation the driver has to handle.

I personally have not used the services and I’m not incredibly interested.  I was mildly tempted when UberPool had unlimited packages in New York, at a time I was spending a lot of time in New York.

But even though these programs are intended to incentivize the people who wouldn’t usually use the service, I think this is also what causes some of these unrealistic expectations–people are taking UberPool and Lyft Line who don’t want the extrovert experience.

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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2 comments

  1. I take about 40 to 60 UberPool rides a month mostly in Boston and DC; and I think any concerns are overblown. Overall, its worked out extremely well. I use the Uber Plus Flat Fare pricing packages, previously called PoolPass.

    Some thoughts:
    1. About 40% of the time I still get a solo pool; my own ride;
    2. Maybe 25% of the time there is interesting conversation;
    3. About 50% of the time the other passenger is friendly enough, but no more conversation than a quick hello;
    4. Another maybe 25% of the time or even less, really, the other passenger is less friendly i.e. barely says hello, etc. That is the “worst of the worst,” 🙂 if you want to call it that.

    I find the software is very good at optimizing the route, I seldomly go anymore than 5 minutes out of my way. Sometimes I get pooled with another rider, and I think the pickup time can be 5-9 minutes longer than it would normally be; although I would say this only happens aboutg 10% of the time or less.

    When you travel on a metro, on a plane, on a bus, etc. you are “sharing the ride,” like an UberPool or a LyftLine; so I really don’t understand why people are so nervous about this concept of sharing the car.

    It seems like people are just nervous to be nervous, or uncomfortable to be uncomfortable. Are there really any tangible problems people have experienced on more than say 1% of Pool rides; or again, are people just nervous to be nervous?

    Are they, just like, “oh my god,” “sharing a car,” “OMG” “OMG” “OMG,” just to have a story to say, OMG?

    I can also imagine even if driverless cars worked perfectly, people would be, nervous just to be nervous.

    I suppose it makes sense, you can feel anxiety about having anxiety so maybe its something like that with this?

    Also you don’t really have to talk much with the other person, you can just work on your phone, etc.

  2. In NYC, my experiences:

    Overall – love price certainty. I usually budget 45 mins – 1 hr for any ride as it just seems to take that long. Some routings are really awkward – i.e. manhattan-queens-manhattan. So leaving yourself time is imperitive. Lyft Line is usually quieter and better than Uber Pool. I do still use it, but always price compare as sometimes it is not a big difference between it and the standard Lyft or UberX product.

    1) Peak Times – great price certainty, but UberPool will pickup/dropoff 3 other single riders for a total of 4. This makes the time component utterly unbearable. 1+ hour isnt worth it compared to 30 on the subway, even in the summer.
    2) Familiarity with Uber Pool – pool during $5 peak times requires you to be picked up or dropped off within 2 blocks of your address. The algorithm is terrible and routinely wiill make you walk 2 blocks just to have the car come right back up that way. But for $5, whatever….until your other riders dont want to obey that rule and either go on a goose chase to find them, or drop them off in a way which makes it harder to get to your destination (particularly morning rush in Financial District).
    3) ratings – no good way to break up rating between passenger, driver, and route. All of the above are important and affect your ride. I’ve had plenty of obnoxious other riders or routes that don’t make sense, you don’t want to hurt the driver, but you do want Uber/Lyft to know…
    4) Drivers not following rules when passengers dont. Many times drivers wont leave riders when they have waited the allotted time because they are afraid of a bad rating. But it frustrates everyone else in the car.

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