Ridesharing Confessionals

BY: MICHAEL GARCIA 

Hector Miramontes with his 2013 Hyundai Elantra, which he uses for both Lyft and Uber when he's not riding his bicycle.

Hector Miramontes with his 2013 Hyundai Elantra, which he uses for both Lyft and Uber when he's not riding his bicycle.

Everyone uses or has heard of Lyft or Uber. It’s not surprising that ridesharing has become common among college students due to the ease of use for both drivers and riders. According to a report conducted by Benenson Strategy Group, there were more than 160,000 Uber drivers across the country in 2014. Of course, not every ride is a smooth one. The following are horror stories from both sides of these bad rides.

From The Drivers

Hector Miramontes, Business major. Uber driver.

How did you become an Uber driver?

I moved from San Leandro in the the Bay Area, and I needed a job. As a student, it’s the most fitting and ideal job. You can literally work any hours you want, and any typical job wouldn’t let you take days off for exams or assignments that get thrown at you last minute.

Best and worst thing about being an Uber driver?

Aside from the pay, the best is meeting people and networking. When I was just starting, I met a bunch of people that would ask if I needed help finding a job and they would give me their number.

The worst part of the job? I think it’s dealing with really, really drunk people. Not all drunk people are terrible. I’d say most are good, about 90 to 95 percent are great, but sometimes you’ll get people that are way too drunk and end up throwing up in your car or they’re really loud and annoying.

Horror Story?

It was this ride with this drunk guy. I was working around the Huntington Beach area and I get a request to pick this guy up. I go over and I’m waiting at a hotel and as I’m about to leave, I see this guy approaching with three girls. He was walking alongside someone I assume is his wife or the mom of the three girls. They were bickering at each other and I’m already thinking, “Oh it’s going to be one of those awkward fight situations amongst couples.” His three girls squeeze in the back and he sits in the front. His wife sat right behind him.

The guy is plastered. He was acting like your typical douchebag. He had the works - the tattoo, the hat backwards, and tank top. His wife seemed sober.

They’re bickering for the first five minutes and so the guy just tunes her out by messing with my radio and turns the volume way up. This terrible song comes on by Jimmy Eat World, “The Middle,” and he just goes berserk and he’s just bro-ing out going, “YEAH, YEAH, YEAH!”

The wife just starts putting him in his place and tells him sarcastically, “Wow you look so cool. Look at your daughters. They’re so proud of you.”

After a minute of that, the guy calms down and turns off the radio. There’s an awkward dead silence for about five minutes. Then the guy suddenly starts sobbing. I look at the guy and he’s in tears. That goes on for another five minutes and I don’t know what to do. First they were fighting and then this big bro buff guy, who at the beginning was this big macho dude, is just sitting there whimpering. His lady starts comforting him and she puts her arm around him and starts whispering something in his ear.

We finally arrive at the destination and when they’re getting out the guy tries to play it cool and he’s like, “Thanks a lot, bro” and I’m just thinking, “Dude, just get the hell out of my car. I’m so done with this ride.”

Stacy Reyes, International Studies major. Lyft driver.

How did you get into Lyft?

With my schedule, I wasn’t able to get a regular job so I decided I was going to try this out and see how I liked it. I’m actually only a couple weeks into it.

Best and worst of being a Lyft driver?

The best part is meeting new people. It’s really cool and I’ve been able to network and make friends. I’ve met some international people and now we’re Instagram friends.

The worst part is the time in between rides you have to wait to pick somebody up. It can be difficult to pick up people in Long Beach but in Downtown L.A., it’s always busy and you can make a decent amount of money.

Horror story?

It was actually my first day on the job and I picked up a girl in Whittier. She got into my car and she was arguing on the phone with her boyfriend, who she had found out was cheating on her. Then I find out she’s going to confront him at UC Riverside. We don’t know the destinations until we pick up the person so I had no idea. I spent an hour with her on the ride there. At one point, she was crying on the phone talking to him and at another she was arguing with the other girl and asking me for advice. In my head I was thinking, “This is going to be a nightmare.” I could try to help her but I didn’t know if I would make it worse or if she wanted to talk, and then she was like, “Oh, I’m so sorry.” I started being nice to her. I gave her tissues. At one point, I was being ultra-feminist and empowering her. Then she just appeared at his apartment. This happened on my first day and my third ride ever.

From The Riders

Samantha Balcaceres. International Studies major. Lyft rider.

How long have you been using the service? How often?

I’ve been using it for about a year, and at least two times a week.

What’s your horror story?

After spending an hour getting a difficult wisdom tooth out, I was drugged up and looking like a chipmunk, I was ready to go home and just sleep. I had no ride home so Lyft was the way to go. I called my Lyft and it got there in a quick, in about three minutes. Getting in the car my driver said, “Hi” and I awkwardly pointed at my cheeks and full mouth mumbling how I can't talk. He didn't get the hint because he continued to ask about my surgery, what I do, why I prefer Lyft and so on. You would think he'd get the point when all my answers were mumbles and hmm's, he couldn't take a hint!

Marco Murguia Vidales,  Studio Art and Art History major. Lyft rider. 

How long have you been using the service? How often?

I’ve only used it about four times. My first time was the crazy one.

What’s your horror story?

It was my first time using the service. This guy rolls up in a Honda Accord Sport. I get in and I try to make small talk but he was just being super quiet. He didn't want to talk and it seemed like he really didn't want to be there. I kept trying to ask questions to try to brighten the mood but he would barely respond and didn’t have any music playing. I had two friends with me in the backseat but the guy wouldn’t respond to anything they asked him.

I asked him about his car and he told me this was his sixth car. He said he’s had a Mustang  and an Escalade before but that he had crashed his other cars. He really only talked about that.

He kept tailgating people and driving too fast on the way to the school dorms, where I was headed. It was pretty nerve wracking. How did Lyft let a guy with a record like this become a driver for them?

I left him a two star review after the ride and wrote he was driving exceedingly fast. I got an email from Lyft saying they would look into the issue and then two weeks later, I got another email saying the matter had been resolved. I think he was fired and is no longer driving for them