Ride sharing: A driver’s persepective

People always ask me “Hey Matt, what’s it like being a Lyft driver?”. I usually tell them its okay, because thats exactly what it is.

For those of you who don’t know, Lyft is like Uber, except its worth a lot less money ($1 billion vs. $18 billion to be exact). But its the same concept. You download the app, request a ride, and some guy picks you up in his reasonably priced sedan and takes you where you need to go.

The reason I am a Lyft drive is twofold. One: Uber would’t hire me because I had (and still have) 7 points on my license. Two: I had just graduated from college last May with a journalism degree so I knew pretty quickly that I wasn’t going to find a job for awhile and needed something to supplement my income.

So I used my mom’s Mercury Milan to drive total strangers around.

The first question people ask me about being a ride share driver is girls. Yes, you are driving drunken girls home from the bar sometimes and drunken girls have a tendency to do make bad decisions. I don’t know what others drivers do, and I have heard stories, but I operate by a simple rule of thumb:

When it comes to driving girls around, you are creepy until proven otherwise.

No girl wants to get in the car and have the driver start flirting with them, it does not set good precedent for whats in store the rest of the ride . So when a girl gets in my car, I keep my mouth shut. If they want to talk to me, great. If not, I probably would of blown it anyway. You will find with drunken girls that they either A: will think your creepy no matter what you do because your a ride share driver (I don’t know where this bad rep came from) or B: will talk from the moment they get in the car because they think it is weird and funny that you are a ride share driver.

When this happens, if you have decent game, you may be able to get a number. If your real smooth, and if its her birthday or something, then the sky is the limit.

I hope none of that sounds misogynistic, its just what I have gathered from my experiences. Its also worth mentioning that I have never gotten anything other than a lost iPhone and vomit on my floor mat from driving drunk girls around.

People also ask if its fun to drive drunk people around. The answer to this is yes and no (for most drivers its a flat out no, but I have an affinity for the drunk)

When your drunk, you might think your the warm little gooey center of everybody’s night. But the guy standing next to you in line is laying low waiting for his opportunity to punch you in the face. I’ve been told this about myself before. So when I pick up a group of drunk guys, they will either act friendly-drunk or asshole-drunk. Friendly drunk says something like “Hey bro you should come back and smoke with us after this” where as asshole drunk doesn’t say anything to you. He tells his friends in the backseat “bro Amanda was all over me tonight she totally wanted the d” while he spills Taco Bell toppings all over the floor of your car.

The last thing people ask me is if I make a lot of money. The answer to this is mostly no. The problem with being a Lyft driver is that nobody says “Let’s catch a Lyft” they say “Let’s catch an Uber”. Uber controls a resounding share of the market around here. The few people who do call Lyft usually do it as a second choice or because they are from down south or out west (where Lyft is much bigger).

Furthermore, the best place to be a Lyft driver in north Jersey is Hoboken because it has a large nightlife scene. But on a Friday or Saturday night you will have to compete with about 10-20 other drivers who are all camped out in the Hoboken and Jersey City area waiting for a fare. And the way all ride shares work is that the driver who is closest to the person who calls for a Lyft automatically has first dibs on the ride. So it really comes down to right place right time. The margins are just too low.

If you have the cojones to go into Manhattan be warned that a New Jersey driver (or a New York driver who does not possess the ride share emblem in their vehicle) can get a $1000 dollar fine for ride sharing in NYC. Even worse is when a person wants a ride from New Jersey to NYC. Considering its a $14 toll, this is almost never worth it. But you don’t know where the person is going until they get in your car, so you have to deal with the problem face to face. I usually tell them I’m not going to do it and they whine and complain but they eventually get out of my car.

One woman ran down the street screaming I had ruined her night…it was hilarious.

All this is to say that I don’t really do Lyft anymore. I picked up a second job as a pizza delivery boy and I have found it to be a much more productive use of my vehicle. I can still flip on driver mode and take fares if I needed to, which is nice, but I just haven’t felt the need.

If your going to be a ride share driver in north Jersey I strongly suggest trying to do Uber. I imagine you can make a lot more money. There is something to be said for ride sharing…you meet interesting people and sometimes find yourself in interesting situations. For instance, one woman admitted to me that she was getting a ride to see her lover and that she had been cheating on her husband for over a year…it was interesting.

All in all though there are more reliable ways to earn money, albeit less interesting ones.

Was this helpful? Do you disagree? Have you had a different experience? Wanna add something? Am I a terrible writer? Leave your thoughts in the comments!







  1. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this,
    like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with a few pics
    to drive the message home a bit, but other than that,
    this is magnificent blog. A great read. I will certainly be back.


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