Lawrence Short (larryshort)

Ride Apprentice from Puyallup, WA

Author, for-hire driver, nonprofit writer, tutor, mushroom guru, cyclist, grandpa
29 Rider Driver


Posts by larryshort

Comments by larryshort

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     2 months ago in  Can a parent order Uber or Lyft for a teenager? My kids?

    I suspect parents have done this before, as they have ordered rides for high school students I suspected are under 18. But I wasn't sure how to challenge this or whether it's right and legal for me to ask their age? Not sure what my liability is as a driver if parents violate this rule?

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     3 months ago in  My Post-Driving Life [Dmitry Samarov]

    I think this all makes good sense if you live in a big city. (Sorry if you do!) If you live in the 'burbs or out in the country, not so much.

    As a teen in the small-ish town burbs with a girlfriend in a nearby town, I was more than eager to get my driver's license which meant freedom and power. (No Uber then, and I couldn't have afforded it anyway. My parents paid for the car and insurance, at least at first, until I went to college.) Upshot is, I've been driving for five decades, have enjoyed and feel confident doing so.

    After retiring from my day job I joined Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Grubhub and Postmates, all for the sake of cash flow but mostly for social reasons. I enjoy meeting new people (most of them) and making friends and good conversation. Getting two federal safe driving certifications continued to boast my confidence.

    I am now 64 (almost 65), retired for several years (except for driving and some small business ventures), and no longer drive passengers (except privately) due to Covid. I'm hoping I can get back there when things calm down. In the meantime I can get out of the house, stay busy and make a little cash with delivery driving, when I feel like it. I can also take the RV out on the road when I need to get away.

    For me, even though admittedly owning and driving your own vehicle isn't cheap, it's always been worth it. But if I were cloistered in a city I'd probably think differently about that, and many other things.

  • Yes, I'm in the Tacoma, WA area and am seeing a huge increase. Not only is it a lot busier (and particularly during lunch and dinner times), but tips are also much higher. I've been averaging about 70% tips.

    The downside is it's a little more complicated and time-consuming due to the need to sanitize constantly, practice good social distancing, and carefully check no-contact delivery instructions (including taking a photo of the food at the doorstep).

  • I think Uber is going to pay heavily for the negative relationship they have been cultivating (through deception and stinginess) with drivers. Did you see this article in Inc?

    Uber has been the 800 lb gorilla in the space, but they have been blowing it repeatedly and losing market share to Lyft.

  • You're right, the economics don't make sense at all. I delivered UberEats for nearly a year. Most of the time, if you factor in my expenses and time, I made less than minimum wage. The only time I did better was when people tipped. Which was less than half the time.

    One time I accepted a request that turned out to be nearly a half hour away (mostly freeway). When I arrived, it was a McDonalds, and a man who lived a mile away had ordered a Big Mac, fries and a soda. And of course, no tip. I think I made $3.50 on the delivery. And then I had to drive back. An hour of my time, probably $8 in gas, and $3.50 was what I had to show for it. It was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.

    And I won't even mention the dozens of times I had to wait 15 or 20 minutes at a restaurant while they were preparing an order. And of course I wasn't paid for that time.

    No longer. If you're thinking about driving Uber Eats, think again.

  • Inebriated passengers are among my favorites. Fortunately they are 95% funny and only 5% unruly.

    I went to a local bar to pick up one fare. He didn't answer the phone so after a few minutes I parked and walked in. He was the lone patron, asleep at the bar.

    After the server woke him up he gratefully apologetically out to my car. He gave me unnecessary but accurate directions to his home during the entire 5-minute drive. And then told me I was the best Uber driver ever and he would tip me profusely on the app. Right. I was just glad he used Uber.

    I pulled up in front of his house and wished him a safe evening. He slapped me on the back jovially, then opened his door and fell out onto his front lawn. (This was near Seattle and it was raining profusely.)

    Are you all right? I asked.

    Sure, he responded, just give me a minute here. Then he began snoring.

    I drove off, hoping his wife would find him out there before he died of exposure.

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     3 years ago in  The End of An Era: The New Uber Bonus Policy

    I've long projected that Lyft will eventually overtake Uber as the 800-lb. gorilla in the space, and this demonstrates exactly why that is. The workers of any company have to feel valued by the culture of that company. If they don't, it's sayonara, no matter how big you are. It's just a matter of time.

    Like most, I drive both Uber and Lyft. I had an interesting thing happen once that showed the difference in culture between the two companies. Both promise to pay bridge tolls. In the same week, Uber cheated me out of $1 (yes, a measely dollar), and Lyft neglected to pay me $6 that they owed me. I contacted both within 3 days. Uber gave me the runaround. I had to fill out and submit a bunch of forms. (None of this was worth the dollar, mind you, but it was the principle of the thing.)

    After about 2 weeks of this nonsense, they finally denied my claim for $1. They said in order to get it, I would have had to submit the forms within the first three days!

    Lyft, on the other hand, emailed me back right away and said, "Sorry about that! We've just posted your $6 to your account."

    So which company do you (as a driver) want to work for?