I'm sure you all have heard of Lyft, the on-demand ridesharing service from Zimride. If you haven't, here's the gist: you request a pickup location from the iOS/Android app, a Lyft-approved driver will arrive (you can track their location), take you to your destination, and after the ride is complete, the app will suggest a donation to pay via the credit card you provided during the set up of your Lyft account. You can decide to pay the suggested amount or change it to whatever you want. You can then rate your driver based on your experience but think twice before you decide to leave a zero-dollar donation – you get rated too.
Since the company's launch in August, I've read a lot about them. I know about the cute fuzzy mustaches they use to identify on-duty Lyft cars and I know they're cheap ($11 for a ride to the Outer Richmond from the Mission? Sign me up), but what about the drivers? Probably knowing that this city is full of characters, Lyft encourages customers to sit in the front seat and socialize with the people driving them around. During a ride to one of my favorite restaurants, I decided to do just that.
Where are you from? I'm from Chicago. I moved to San Francisco in the '70s
What's your day job? Retired, but worked for the SF Chronicle as a photographer for 30 years.
When did you start driving with Lyft? Two weeks ago. I'm a rookie – a grey-haired rookie.
Why did you decide to do this? Too much television. I wanted to go out and meet new people.
What's your craziest experience so far as a driver? It's funny, San Francisco has a lot of characters but I find that you meet a lot of 25 to 35-year-old young professionals usually working in the tech start up business. I haven't met anyone crazy, just a lot of normal and interesting people.
Tell me about your first day: On my first job, I couldn't find the guy and for the second, the guy cancelled. I was thinking "Is this what it's like?"
Have you ever had a bad experience? No bad ones, knock on wood. Knock on Prius!
Lastly, where's your favorite place to eat in the city? Perry's on Union Street. It's real casual and you can go there to watch The Giants win.
After Frederic had fun having a photo shoot with me and my friends, he went on his way. The suggested donation for giving us a ride from Hayes Valley to the Mission? Seven dollars. I bumped it up a bit because he was a good sport. Later in the evening, one of my friends told me that if she was a couple years older, she would have slipped him her number. I can't think of a better tip than that.