Getting around the city is often a challenge. Boston is busy; crowded streets, crowded sidewalks; lots of crowds. And the MBTA has time and again proven itself to be pretty unreliable. So when you’ve got to get from point A to point B with relative ease, what’s a girl to do?
These last two weekends, they’ve been doing track work on the orange line, shutting the T down from Forest Hills to Ruggles. I’m usually pretty satisfied with the orange line: It’s not fancy, but it is efficient. I’m not a huge fan of shuttle buses (the rocking, the nausea) though, so I decided to use the three free Lyft rides I had somehow aquired that were on the verge of expiration. In one day, I utilized all three and had three radically different experiences.
I’ve used Uber before but never Lyft, so I was interested to see how it functioned in comparison. My first hurtle was going downtown to meet my friend Charles for the Pride Parade (which was wonderful, by the way). My first driver, let’s call him “Steve,” arrived promptly. He was very nice but not very talkative; we spent most of the ride in companionable silence, which was fine by me. He asked me if the air conditioning was okay and if I wanted to change the music (I declined). He was a careful driver and got me downtown in one piece. Ride 1 was a success, both comfortable and efficient.
On my way back home from the parade that day, I tried to use my second ride near Mass Ave, but my driver couldn’t find me nor I him. I tried to call, but he didn’t answer and just ended up cancelling my ride. I considered trying again, but after ten minutes of waiting and disappointment, I just walked to the orange line and braved the transfer and shuttles.
Ride 2 came in early evening; I was going to meet friends in Fenway for a few hours at Jillian’s/Lucky Strike. My second driver, we’ll call her “Maureen,” was very talkative. She had a lot to say. We talked about traffic and the weather for the most part. Well, she talked and I did a lot of nodding and positive interjections. She also seemed confused for a moment about where we were going since the GPS seemed to reroute her and scolded me when I wasn’t more immediately specific about the area I was going (besides entering the address in the app). I got there fast enough, but did learn her life story in the interim. Still, it wasn’t so bad.
The last ride was a late night adventure. The first driver I connected with said he would be outside the bar in four minutes; that number dropped to three, but then it went up to five, then six. I waited a bit to see if the app would correct itself before the driver in question called me and told me I should just cancel the ride. He wasn’t terribly clear about exactly why, something about the app not working.
I tried again since it was late and didn’t want to deal with shuttles at this hour. I got connected to “Greg,” who was by far the best driver of the day. He was a little younger than the others, probably closer to my age, which kind of surprised me. Like the rest of the drivers, he was very nice, but what was different was that he actually tried to really engage me in conversation. We had a nice talk in the fifteen minutes or so to my house about a number of random things: what we do for a living, Boston drivers (which always seems to come up), Dunkin Donuts, coffee, eating things that are bad for you. It was pleasant but not forced, which was a nice change of pace.
I had an interesting day with Lyft. You’re never quite certain of what experience you’ll get when you hop in a car with strangers, but all my Lyft and Uber rides have always been good ones. My drivers were all kind and affable and I had no truly negative experiences. I did thingk the Lyft app is inferior to Uber. It seems to have more bugs and isn’t as sleek or intuitive. I don’t know if I would use Lyft again, but I was grateful for the free rides. We will have to wait and see!
Until next time!