RideShare Diaries: A New Audience To Ride With
Modern technology has changed many aspects of our day to day lives – how we work, how we socialize, how we travel, how we get to know where we need to be. The idea of on-demand services is to give people what they want, at a reasonable cost, even on short notice.
There are many Rideshare options – Uber, Lyft, and other variants. You need to get somewhere and don’t have a car? A driver can get to you in mere minutes. The popularity of ridesharing has skyrocketed in recent years in part due to the increasing cost and declining service of public transportation options such as the Washington DC Metro or the NYC Subway. Many young people no longer even want or need cars of their own anymore.
Using the Uber or Lyft application, one can jump into a car and then zone out and/or browse the internet on a mobile phone as most people do – but it is a missed opportunity. Rideshare drivers are really interesting people. Taxi drivers are doing their job full-time and often seem chatted-out. Rideshare drivers on the other hand are often part-timers and like to talk with their passengers to pass the time – especially when one can connect beyond niceties such as the weather and how terrible the local sports teams (sorry Redskins fans) are.
Over the years, I have had great conversations with so many drivers. They include an asylum seeker from the Democratic People’s Republic of Congo who was a UN worker and had to flee the country for his safety, a Chinese Uighur who was only driving to practice his English, people who spent their entire lives in Washington DC, and Uber drivers with the craziest stories of what their passengers had done – invariably drunk and late at night.
I’ve recorded a number of these conversation that I or friends have had on my blog, Rideshare Diaries. Some of these conversations made me laugh, some were meaningful, but i often learned new things by putting my mobile phone down and having a conversation with my driver. Sometimes it can be challenging due to language barriers. I live in Ukraine now and neither Russian nor Ukrainian are easy languages to learn – but I do my best.
So I have talked to my drivers. A lot. And I’ve been sharing these interactions ever since. But now? I’m looking for new stories. This is where you come in. While I know the interactions I have had with drivers over the years, I would like to learn more about your experiences – whether they be comical, meaningful, or helped you learn something you didn’t know before.
Have you made a connection with your driver when you were going to/from work or heading somewhere else you needed to go? I’d love to hear about it. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can tweet me with the #ridesharediaries hashtag to submit a story. The world is a much smaller place when we all open up and start talking to each other.
The next time you find yourself in an Uber or Lyft, the applications on your mobile phone will no doubt beckon – but if you spark a conversation with your driver, you could end up making a small connection that will make the ride better for both of you.