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My Indianapolis Lyft Experience

A few months ago I wrote a blog post about my experience at the smartphone app Lyft’s launch party and told you I’d write a follow up when that time came that I had utilized the service.

Currently, Lyft is only available downtown Indianapolis and Broad Ripple. Since I live in Castleton, I had not had the privilege of using the $50 credit received at the launch party. Last weekend was the perfect opportunity.

It was a snowy day on Friday. Temperatures were unbearable to walk in and a Lyft ride was just a button away!

The process of getting a “Lyft” is like this:

1. The app uses your location services to find out where you are.
2. You press “Request Lyft” – which is a huge teal button at the bottom of your screen.
3. The app locates the closest Lyft drivers and alerts them of your location.
4. A driver accepts your request for a Lyft.
5. You are told how far the driver is and are able to track their location.
6. When the driver arrives, you get a text message that tells you the name of your driver and what car they are driving.
7. If the driver has a question about your exact location, they give you a call to get a better understanding of your whereabouts.
8. You look around for the car with the pink ‘stache!

Pretty easy, eh? I thought so. But we haven’t gotten to one of the best features of the app – the payment process.

When you set up your account you have to use a credit card. That credit card information is stored within the application so when you go on a ride – you don’t have to worry about who is paying or what payment you are going to use. You simply hop out of the car and head to your destination!

The application sends you a notification of how much you can “donate” to the driver. This “donation process” gives you a dollar amount that they suggest the drive costs, but allows you to pay more or even less depending on your experience.

Now – let’s talk about the best part – The Lyft experience.

Over the course of the night, I used Lyft three times. Each time I had a different driver, therefore, a different car.

I had seen numerous social media postings from Lyft about cool things they did in the cars. I heard about cookie wars, dance offs and disco balls. My expectations were high for my experience.

Lyft’s tagline is “your friend with a car” and the three drivers were exactly that. They were friendly, fun, polite and energetic. Although there were not any cookie wars, one of our drivers , Harry, had a buffet of snacks. I’ve never seen so many candy bars in my life aside from on Halloween and I loved it! My friends and I chowed down on the delicious goodies as we bonded through the streets of downtown Indianapolis with Harry.

So, overall, what are the advantages of using Lyft?

1. Immediate service. There’s no waiting a half hour for a cab to come get you.
2. Friendly service. The drivers actually talk to you and want to get to know you. They aren’t on their phones the whole time ignoring you.
3. Smart service. With the location tracking, texts and phone calls it makes life a lot easier for both the driver and the passenger to know where each other are at. No more time wasted.
4. Unique service. Some drivers go above and beyond to stand out from the crowd. From disco balls to candy buffets to mustaches dressed up like Santa – Lyft drivers love their jobs and you can tell.
5. Considerate service. You pay what you want based on your experience. You also get to rate the drivers for other Lyft users to see. Lyft cares about what you thought of the experience and wants you to enjoy it.

Okay okay. I know I’ve said nothing but good things about my experience – but what are some negatives?

Like I said in the beginning, right now Lyft is only offered to downtown Indianapolis and Broad Ripple. I understand why they do this. They are testing the market because it’s a brand new service and want to make sure they get it up and running smoothly (or at least this is what I assume).

But I can tell you that right now, with competition from Uber, they are losing out on opportunities. At the same time I was using Lyft, a friend of mine was using Uber to come downtown from the south side of Indianapolis. That was a missed opportunity for Lyft and one that drove my friends to the competition.

However, at the end of the day, had a great experience using Lyft and would recommend it to all my friends. It’s a great application that has really set a high bar when it comes to taxi services in Indianapolis. Moving forward, I hope the service gets up and running around the outskirts of Indy. I feel many Indianapolis residents could benefit from it and I’d love the chance to make more Lyft friends.