It happens often, but it is not always captured on video. An airline pilot was ditched in a grocery store parking lot seven miles from Los Angeles International Airport. Why? His Lyft driver had no desire to travel to LAX.
Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft have revolutionized the way many travel. Instead of overpriced, cash-only taxis, we can now get just about anywhere with a few taps on our phone.
But there’s certainly a downside, calling into question the sustainability of this business model. Regulated taxis cannot refuse service, no matter how short the journey nor the destination. While Uber and Lyft drivers are not supposed to choose rides based upon destination, it is becoming increasingly common. And the root of the problem, according to most drivers, is a simple cost/benefit analysis: some rides are simply not worthwhile.
Take the case of the pilot trying to get from Hermosa Beach to LAX. Once the driver found out the pilot was going to LAX (wasn’t that obvious from the start, since the driver was in uniform?), he started complaining…but kept driving.
He was visibly angry and responded to that anger by allegedly speeding and running stop signs.
But as they approached LAX, he had enough and dumped the pilot in a Trader Joe’s parking lot, complaining he would only make $6 for one hour of work.
Here’s video from the incident:
On the one hand, I truly feel the pain of the driver. The reason I generously tip on Uber now (despite my aversion to it) is because I know the drivers are underpaid. On the other hand, some drivers seem genuinely cheerful to drive for Lyft and Uber and proudly boast of earning a living wage from the job.
I’m not a fan of whipping out the cell phone and trying to humiliate. At the same time, I understand that cell phones encourage accountability, even as they tend to encourage bad behavior like shaming and extortion.
This is a huge problem with Uber and Lyft. I’ve experienced it myself. I’m not sure if the only solution is to raise prices, but we are seeing an equilibrium shift as Uber and Lyft become less reliable and in some cases, approach the point of not being even worth the savings over Uber Black or a real taxi.
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