Ride Share Driving For Lyft Atlanta
Lyft is my preferred ride sharing company even before Uber started started taking negative PR hits because of their corporate culture towards women employees primarily forcing their founder to step down. When I did not own a car, I relied on mostly public transportation and that means Marta buses and trains in Atlanta as well as relying on ride share. I bought a Chevy Cruze last year and now drive exclusively for Lyft although I am cleared for Uber too. Now 1,500 rides later, it has truly been an amazing opportunity to both meet people, see the Atlanta area and places I would probably never have visited otherwise, and to understand this new age, tech-driven business model. The Sports Techie community blog is a free service I love to curate as if it is not a job because it does not feel like one, however, one must pay the bills as y’all understand.
$450 Bonus for New Lyft Drivers. Use my code!
If you think you’d make a great Lyft driver. Lyft matches drivers with passengers who request rides (and pay for the trip) through a smart phone app. As a driver, you’ll earn money by driving your own car, on your own schedule.
If you apply using my referral link, you’ll also pocket an extra bonus. (For example, Atlanta referrals get $450 after giving 225 rides in their first 30 days.) See the terms at https://lft.to/terms.
Use this link to apply: Lyft
I was working part-time at a new Dick’s Sporting Goods in the Team Sports department and decided to drive for Lyft as a way to supplement blogging because it also gives me flexibility with parental needs as a single father of an amazing son on the autism spectrum.
There are a wide variety of people who rely on ride sharing across the globe including myself. I used Lyft in Las Vegas earlier this year at CES during the worst rain storm in 75 years while attending as a sports tech business expert and social influencer on behalf of Panasonic USA.
I’ve had the opportunity to transport folks around the Atlanta region and as a result, have met many good people (and a few not so nice) along the way. I usually try and find out some background about each person like if they are from the South, what school they attended and the mascots name, or else I use a current event to break the conversation ice like uttering President Trump. You know when a rider puts on their headphones a conversation might not be the best idea, same thing when they look at their phone without really looking up. For the most part, riders like to converse, especially out-of-towners.
The Lyft app is amazing. I use it synced with Waze because it is better in my opinion than Google Maps for what I am looking for in a navigation app. The Cruz syncs with my iPhone via Bluetooth and enables me to use the voice control to help guide me on routes that often seem crazy but time and time again calculates the fastest route to drive. It is not without it’s flaws.
Two things about this app drive me crazy. First, it still has issues at the airport after dropping someone off and at times will not refresh. This is so frustrating. Also, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been requested to pick someone up four lanes over when you are at the front of an intersection light in the far right hand lane. The algorithms are sophisticated but obviously need tweaking as do most software applications hosted in the cloud.
Driving around Atlanta usually involves traffic, some angry drivers but also the occasional courteous ones, beautiful neighborhoods, and witnessing the amount of homeless people around the city, especially at intersections. It hurts my soul to see the amount of needy in our country and worldwide.
I first wrote a blog about Lyft Seattle in 2013. They sure have come a long way in 5-years time. Lyft Toronto is their first international hub with more on the way. Uber is widely available worldwide. Driver-less cars will be here before you know it making this job most likely obsolete in 5 or 10 years into the future.
The eclectic mix of humanity that uses Lyft is just that, a diverse range of humans. I live near Emory University therefore I am fortunate to be able to pick up a fair share of my most interesting riders around campus. Users range from undergrads, graduate students to student families, Professors and employees, as well as the many visitors to campus for a variety of reasons including public health issues as the CDC is right by the school.
I’ve talked with several riders that are experts in their fields at the CDC about CTE, concussion and sports, and how these brain issues particularly affects the sport of football and players too, among the wide variety of topics I’ve chatted about concerning public health. The person that runs a CDC team that flies into areas with killer viruses like Ebola or the Zika virus to determine how it started spreading was a passenger I truly enjoyed meeting.
There are many Asian students in Atlanta from China, Japan and Korea, especially at Georgia Tech. Many are studying some type of engineering or technology field.
Spanish speaking riders are a plenty around the region which of course suits me well as I can speak it for the most part meaning I can hold a conversation which many riders appreciate. I find myself often listening in Spanish and responding in English so our discussions don’t hit as many translation roadblocks.
There is a large amount of Africans relocated to Atlanta. I love discussing the World Cup and have grown fond of the soccer teams from Nigeria, Senegal, and the many others football playing nations such as Ghana, Egypt and Cameroon. If the rider is from South Africa tend to share my story about having breakfast with the Blade Runner, Oscar Pistorius, at the 2012 Global Sports Forum Barcelona as an official blogger. My other favorite story to share with Ethiopians is the time I danced with Ethiopian fans of Haile Gebrselassie after he set a world record running the half-marathon at the Phoenix Rock ‘n‘ Roll Marathon. I was quoted in the The Arizona Republic the next day after a reporter interviewed me because I was perhaps the only non-Ethiopian of the group.
I dropped off my first rider to SunTrust Park and the Battery otherwise known as Atlanta Braves stadium in Cobb County this week for a MLB game versus the Chicago Cubs.
Just a few weeks ago, I dropped off a rider and fan at Mercedes-Benz Stadium for an Atlanta United F.C. match for the first time. The amount of loud and proud United fans at their home games is truly a sight to behold and no accident. I’ve picked up happy riders in town for the March Madness games played at Phillips Arena. Atlanta Falcons and Hawks games are another good source for rides because parking can be difficult.
There are a lot of NBA fans in Atlanta and I like asking them about LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers or else I’ll bring up Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors because most don’t want to talk about the local Hawks organization because they are so bad although they own the number three pick in this year’s draft and also hired a new Head Coach. Many fans tell me they do not want to see another Cavs vs Warriors NBA Finals. The Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets are doing their best to prevent this from happening again in the era of the superteams.
I picked up a top marketing executive from Nike and we hit it off over the theme of sports tech. He was excited for the new 2017 PK-80 Phil Knight Invitational featuring sixteen college basketball teams honoring the company founders birthday. I told him I met Phil at a wedding years ago and I also have a signed letter from Phil after asking him to consider a sports tech related business proposition 20 years ago.
Bringing up the Atlanta Falcons to a rider almost immediately reverts to blown Super Bowl LI against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. I immediately let Falcons fans know that my favorite NFL franchise, the Seattle Seahawks, lost Super Bowl XLIX to the Pats on the infamous ‘Beast Mode’ play. Normally and naturally, a fan bond begins making the ride more enjoyable for us both.
I like sports and concert attending riders because they are exited to see the live sport or musical event which gets me excited for the drive even when I am not a fan of a respective team or music. Authentic fans are easy to spot as are bandwagon fans.
Homecoming at the cities historically black colleges was lumped in with Georgia State University’s homecoming to make it a crazy fun weekend to be driving for Lyft. Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta University and Spelmen College have alumni from all over the country and world come back to the ATL to relive memories and make some new ones. The good Doctor living in Arizona I picked up at the airport that played basketball at Morehouse was super cool.
The Fox Theater is a destination point for entertainment in Atlanta. I gave a ride there to a cast member of the show, Rent, she was also getting married so her phone was blowing up with calls and texts. Just a few weeks back, I believe a well-known Director/Producer went to this cherished venue with his lady to see the premier of the movie Avengers: Infinity War.
Other populate destinations include the Atlanta Aquarium, College Football Hall of Fame, World of Coca-Cola and the CNN Center, all next to Olympic Park. A tip for families, the Children’s Museum of Art is nearby.
The kind executive I picked up downtown that worked for AT&T was memorable because I let her know I have been with them since 2001, the last time I lived in Atlanta which she thanked me for. You are welcome. I also let her know Mark Cuban retweeted my tweet via Mashable discussing “Project Loon” where Google’s parent company Alphabet launched two stratospheric balloons providing web access in remote areas of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria destroyed cell towers. I told her my tweet got me more engagement on Twitter than ever before thanks to the possible 2020 Presidential candidate. She was a major part of this program and spoke about the harsh conditions and relief these U.S. citizens needed allowing for texts, emails and basic web access to AT&T customers with handsets that use its 4G LTE network.
Driving to the airport is often fun but here are a few tips to consider.
Hartsfield Jackson International Airport is partnered with Lyft so that is good. It has both domestic and international terminals. Most passengers fly domestic and often with Delta as Hartsfield is a hub for the airlines. If departing Atlanta for a domestic flight here in the United States with Delta, you are in the Red (South) area for drop off while all other airlines are considered Blue (North).
Next, the international terminal is again, separate from domestic so if you are flying to Canada, Spain or Hong Kong this is for you. If you are flying to Philadelphia, New York or Seattle, you want the domestic terminal.
Finally, upon arrival, expect a little bit of a walk to the designated ride share pick up area. In the dead of winter or the height of summer, expect dealing with the cold and heat until your driver arrives. Again, if you flew Delta you walk to the South (Red) pick area. All other airlines are picked up at the designated North (Blue) parking lot.
I picked up a consultant last week for airports and he told me Hartsfield Jackson will be moving the ride share program to a parking deck soon.
Sports Techie, I don’t night drive for Lyft, yet. My night vision is not as good as it once was and the fact that there are drunk drivers out adds up to staying off the roads past 7 or 8 p.m. I’m told you can make more money in the evening and tips are better for those that are considering driving for Lyft.
My driving time record is two hours because of horrible rush hour traffic. The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) posts the amount of traffic fatalities in the state in near real-time on digital signs along the highways. The number are staggering. Last year, 1,549 driver lost their lives on Georgia’s roadways, this year the number is already at 513. RIP fellow vehicle drivers in GA.
As an Amazon Influencer my wish is for Amazon HQ 2 on the east coast to come to Atlanta. I believe the city is a good fit and better than Virginia for sure. Two of my riders made a nice case for Philadelphia. If Atlanta wins the bid and gets the 50,000 jobs, the cities transportation infrastructure, freeways and streets will get a much needed boost benefiting Lyft riders and drivers alike.
Ride sharing has revolutionized transportation for the masses at first for those living near big cities and now around the entire state, if offered.
In terms of Uber, I can only tell you what I heard during my 1,500 plus rides and that is, most comments seem to indicate that Lyft is a better overall experience because of their drivers, cars, policies, and brand image.
I have given rides on separate occasions to a couple of Lyft employees working at the Atlanta hub. One was on his way to work and the other on his way home. I liked hearing about the positive corporate culture at Lyft. They had terrific things to says about management and liked working for the company.
Lyft drivers are required to pick up service dogs. People will say their dog is a service animal when we both know that is not the case. I have never refused a ride because of an accompanying dog, however, riders must respect the wishes of the car owner whether they want to let your “non-service” canine. I once had a guy lie to me and his dog left white hair all over the backseat.
That is life as a Lyft driver.
So is talking about football, eSports or sports radio while driving and getting paid for it!
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