Dear Lyft: I've found someone else. I just couldn't handle surge pricing

By Carmel DeAmicis , written on February 11, 2014

From The News Desk

Dear Lyft,

This is hard for me to write, but you deserve to know the truth. I've decided I love another. Your pink mustaches are adorable and your drivers will always have my heart, but I just can't forgive you for pulling an Uber on me.

Ever since you rolled out surge pricing -- excuse me, I mean "Prime Time Tips" -- on Christmas Eve, I've been feeling distant. I know you're not keeping any of the money and giving it all to the drivers. That said, I just don't believe surge pricing works, and even if it did why should I put up with it?

If there were no other fish in the sea, sure I might have to. But the truth is, there's someone out there who wants me just as I am, without demanding 25 percent or 50 percent more of my wallet.

We used to have an equal relationship you and I. You'd get me where I needed to go cheaply, and I wouldn't mind that your drivers didn't know how to navigate San Francisco like professionals. It was a fair deal. But now, every other time I turn my Lyft app on you're telling me you're worth more money. I love you Lyft, but not that much.

I think you've been paying too much attention to your big brother Uber. I know you admire him for his slick black cars and flashy brand, but couldn't you see what big trouble surge pricing was getting him in? He's a bad influence on you.

And now, I'm starting to fall for another.

It's my ex... Taxis.

That's right, I've reverted to my old ways, gone behind your back, and have been taking my business elsewhere.

I know you must be thinking, "Taxis? Those old assholes? They charge you more and take forever to respond when you call them. They aren't reliable, you can't depend on them to meet your transportation needs. They don't know how to treat you like I do."

But here's the thing, Lyft, taxis have changed. They regret their old mistakes and have learned from you. They have these apps, like Flywheel, Taxi Magic, and NexTaxi.

Flywheel reminds me of the old you. I can just click a button, see the cars nearby, and request a ride. Bam -- two minutes later they show up just like you do.

Sure, they don't carry little mints and starbursts and bottles of water for me, and they're not quite as trustworthy. Every once in awhile a driver might say they're coming but never arrive. That doesn't happen too often though. For the most part taxis show up right away. They know how to get around the city and give me a nice shot of adrenaline by speeding through the streets and cutting off other drivers.

The real perk though: Taxis don't charge surge pricing. They know how to treat me right. I know you're going to say that even with Prime Time Tips Lyft is the same cost as a taxi. But I don't believe you. Even if it is accurate, I don't want to encourage this behavior in you. I'd rather resort to an old faithful.

The algorithm behind surge pricing is confusing, and I don't believe it gets more drivers on the road during busy times. If it really evened out supply and demand the way it's supposed to, then I wouldn't have surge pricing at 2 PM in Nob Hill on a Saturday. Perhaps surge pricing isn't the way to fix the unpredictable ebbs and flows of car supply and demand.

Plus whenever you're asking me for Prime Time Tips, there's ten or more taxis all within a three block radius on my Flywheel app. And no surge pricing. You can understand how that gives me warm fuzzies don't you?

I would say it's not you, it's me, but that would be lying. It really is you. I'll miss you though.



[Image courtesy: Wikimedia]