Lyft Launches in Miami: We Try the Peer-to-Peer Ride-Sharing App

Categories: Road Rage

lyft_miami_credit_duran.jpg
Photo by Jose D. Duran
My Lyft driver, Jeniffer.
I hate taking taxis in Miami-Dade, but I depend on them. Without a car, I sometimes need a quick ride to events and to the office, which unfortunately has no convenient bus or trolley stops nearby.

But the rights of passengers who use taxi services in the county are rarely acknowledged. I've had cab drivers start the meter at $7, and when I've argued that they should set it at $2.50, they've kicked me out. Another driver cursed me out because I didn't have exact change even though it wasn't my fault he couldn't break a $20 or accept credit cards. One time I was told to get out of a cab when the driver didn't deem my ride worth his time -- he wanted a passenger with a more lucrative fare.

See also: Lyft, Peer-to-Peer Ride-Sharing App, to Launch in Miami Thursday

So I don't feel much sympathy for Miami's cabbies. That's why I'm excited that Lyft has launched in Miami and is willing to stand up to Miami's Taxi Drivers Association and Miami-Dade County politicians.

The service launched yesterday at 7 p.m. When I opened the app, there were about 11 drivers available. All I needed to do was click "Request a Lyft" and a car would swoop me up.

I decided to use Lyft this morning. Around 9 a.m., there were zero drivers available. I'm not sure if that meant they were all busy or nobody was on call. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like you can put yourself in a queue and wait until a driver becomes available. To request a ride, there must be an available driver.

Finally, around 10:20 I saw one available car somewhere in North Miami, 16 minutes from my Edgewater location. I clicked to request a pick-up. No response from the driver. I clicked again. No response.

I walked away for a minute and returned to try again. This time the driver accepted my request. It seems the app gives the driver the power to respond to or ignore a call. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be a problem if the passenger has to be somewhere on time.

The app alerted me that Jeniffer would be my driver and told me the make, model, and color of her car. This is a particularly welcome safety feature. The last thing I wanted was to get chopped up and thrown into the Everglades. Also, I'm not sure whether this is a mandatory procedure for drivers, but Jeniffer called me seconds after accepting my request to confirm my address and give me an estimated time of arrival. (The app actually lets you know how far away a car is.)


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13 comments
BillSyrjala
BillSyrjala

I am moving to  Miami soon, and this is so refreshing to hear that Lyft is there! Hopefully Uber at some point also. I will be needing a lot of rides when i move there, and look forward to giving all of my business to Lyft and Uber.


Cab drivers are jerks... so many bad experiences with them over the years in NYC and Boston (drunk drivers, yelling at you because you dont have anything smaller than a 20, taking you the long way, the credit card machine is always "broken", seatbelt doesnt work, etc etc), and i have no sympathy for them now having some competition. No more protected monopoly. 

There is an *enormous* pent-up demand for a service where you can get good drivers, and rate them on a per-ride basis. Crowdsourcing at its finest. Hopefully Lyft and Uber put them out of business.

tommybluez
tommybluez

Jose,


I'm glad you had a mostly positive experience.  I share the SAME feeling about cabs here in Buffalo NY - where Lyft also just launched.  I was excited because I had used the service previously in Chicago & San Fran and had great experiences.


Keep in mind, it's brand new to Miami so it'll take a bit for drivers to build up and once they do they have just as good availability - if not better - than taxis.


Valery, don't speak about things you don't know.  All users will NOT know your location.  The driver does not know your location until you request a lyft and matched with the nearest available driver.  The driver and the driver ONLY is given your location.  (It is not broadcasted over a CB type radio like cab dispatch companies....)


Furthermore, all Lyft drivers go through a comprehensive background check, DMV Check, safety inspection and training.  


I've felt 100x safer with Lyft drivers than any cab I've ever taken.


Don't push forth ignorance because you're afraid of change.

danielleboyd3
danielleboyd3

After expanding to Miami, Lyft is offering new users in Miami 50 free rides for two weeks with the promo code "2WEEKSFREE"


Just download the Lyft app and enter the coupon code in the Payments section

Valery P Rivera
Valery P Rivera

You put your life in jeopardy using this public app. All users will know your location.

Naomi Lauren Ross
Naomi Lauren Ross

Sounds cool =) I'm not a total stranger to taking rides with strangers since I don't have a car either. Will def check this out some day...

seanmcgowan1
seanmcgowan1

I drive for Lyft in Calfornia and love it!  Very happy that Miami residents will now have access to the most affordable, clean, safe and fun rides around.  Use this link to download the app on your phone and you will get free credits.  (to be totally honest, I will get a small referral fee from Lyft) here it is: https://www.lyft.com/invited/sean1615

BillSyrjala
BillSyrjala

Untrue - Lyft and Uber are safer than cabs.

BillSyrjala
BillSyrjala

Not for long. Lyft and Uber will eventually be huge in Miami. Compete or go out of business. People see through the bull that is taxi regulation. It's mainly for protection of existing businesses from competition, not safety (Uber and Lyft are safer than limo companies and taxis, because drivers are rated on a per-ride basis - their livelihood depends on each ride being top-notch). The popular will for consumer choice will eventually win out over scam protection regulations.

erngomez
erngomez

Im glad they are here. It's about time there are some other alternatives to the expensive taxis that like to rip people off and car services that like to cater to the upper crust of Miami so their services tend to be out of price for average people. 


Everything in Miami is illegal...until you pay the right official off. 

DavidDennis
DavidDennis

As long as quality service is available, I really don't care what the government thinks of them.


Last time I tried a cab it was prohibitively expensive.  Can't say I have any sympathy for those running them.  It should not cost well over $100 per operating hour just to get a ride from place to place.


I guess you pay government a lot of big fees for permission to operate and thus a cartel-like set of minimum rates.  I would much rather see rates set by free competition in the marketplace.


D

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