After hundreds of rides through a variety of rideshare apps, I have given just a single one-star review. This is the story of the ride that warranted it.
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Not For a Lack of Experience
I’ve had plenty of rideshares, hundreds, in fact, across a variety of providers all over the world. If I don’t type that last line then some won’t believe I’ve hailed from my phone before, while others will suggest that I am in some way trying to brag.
That’s not it. I am simply qualifying that this is far from my first rodeo and certainly and that I frequently use the services of Uber, Lyft, and Yandex Go for rides in lots of countries outside of the United States.
With that out of the way, this is the single worst rideshare experience I have ever had. I have hung off the bottom metal step and held the last rung of a songthaew howling down the highway in the rain with one arm and 30 lbs of groceries in the other arm. I’ve huddled up, four adults to the backseat of a Toyota Corolla.
This was worse.
The Vehicle Was Not As Expected
Minivans on the Yandex app – the premier rideshare app in Yerevan, Armenia – vary wildly. My family had a significant amount of luggage at the end of our month-long visit to Europe and the Caucus. Upon our arrival we had a massive, cavernous van made even more spacious by removing any semblance of interior comfort.
The morning of our departure (morning, evening – it was 3AM and we never went to bed) we called for a Yandex minivan. What arrived was not a minivan… it wasn’t even a midsize car.
Though the size appeared to be incompatible with a seven-year-old (almost eight, she won’t let anyone forget that), two adults, three backpacks, and four suitcases – we let him try.
He popped down the backseat to access a minimal but mighty compartment behind, but wait, that’s an LNG tank taking up half of the usable space.
He heaved the first bag (it was heavy, I would have heaved it too) into the back and I was certain it was hopeless. He got the second inside and I was looking for a secret spot where he might have put the third and fourth. The third fit in the back but there was no more room left at the Inn. The rest of the luggage occupied two of the rear seats.
He said “ok” and got in, but we didn’t have time to argue and unpack.
Our safety was compromised before he placed in luggage in that vehicle. Thick fog and a driver distracted by his phone are a bad combination. But then the various scrapes of the vehicle against the cement as we made our way riding between lanes (on empty streets) and crunching over inconsistent pavement levels.
There was more.
The vehicle struggled to stop, then it struggled to go. The driver seemed to be unfamiliar with the route to the airport, consulting not only his map but switching to other apps with confusion. Staying inside of the Yandex Go app, I was able to follow along quite clearly but the driver found this in some way insufficient.
There were issues with following too closely, nearly missing turns causing last-second decisions – I wasn’t only wondering if he was new to the app but also whether or not he was new to driving in general.
The Bonus Rip Off
Once we arrived at the departures lounge, the very oldest trick in the book made an appearance. When entering the departures area, cars must collect a ticket that entitles them to one hour of free parking. The sign is in both languages and was clear and conspicuous.
Upon parking at Departures, the driver grabbed the ticket and approached me as we unloaded the car ourselves. In Armenian, he began waving the ticket and motioning to his watch, then rubbing his pointer and middle finger against his thumb (the international sign for “more money, please”) and demanding additional payment. I ignored him as we unloaded the car and wagged a finger toward the end.
This is a common scam throughout the world, and while the amount may have been small, I didn’t have any additional Armenian Dram even if I wanted to help him out. But ultimately, I detest this method. Had he helped us with our bags I would have most likely tipped despite the precarious ride to the airport. Many of our rides were so inexpensive that we tipped 25, 50, even 100% on our rides (some were as little as $1.50.)
The demands continued as we made our way inside the terminal and I opened the app to rate my ride. Interestingly, when I submitted my one and only one-star review on any rideshare app, Yandex Go asked why I rated the ride so low and offered a variety of reasons why; one of which was that the driver asked for more money.
Despite a number of challenging situations, locales, and complications, this was the lowest-rated ride I have ever submitted. I generally don’t need to leave a bad review, because service offered tends to be competent, friendly, and consistent. I also dislike the repercussions on drivers of leaving poor reviews, and I treat rideshare services as a safety matter – they are always a guaranteed ride home. In this particular instance, we ordered a private van – not a carpool, vanpool, or anything else – and received a medium-sized car, unsafe ride with an insufficient number of seats, and were then pestered for additional funds that we’d neither agreed nor were obligated to pay. While I otherwise had an excellent experience with Yandex Go, this was the single worst rideshare experience I have had, for that, I count myself lucky.
What do you think? What’s your worst rideshare experience?
Sorry about your experience. Don’t know much about that country but how can any company expect drivers to work for as little as a $1.50 a ride? Of which the company takes a substantial percentage of. It sounds like they need scams and hustles just to justify the job, especially with current fuel prices. While rideshares are great for customers, the drivers are the ones being exploited while the company makes the money. And yes, I understand they choose to take the job, sorry gig not job. But most don’t do the overall math on how little they are making when you consider what it costs them in car expenses.
Yes but they may be privileged enough to have you as a passenger and to learn about the poor life choices they’ve made. Priceless.
As a wise man once said…”The world needs ditch diggers too”.
It’s 50/50, you are correct, most made poor life choices. But there always will be others making bank off their backs and taking advantage of their weaknesses.
But without the group of people who think they are better than the average American, who would be left to comment on this blog?
Uber (as an example) is very clear, there is NEVER any reason to provide additional cash fees to any driver at any time. Period.
I agree, this has become rampant at airports around the world. My most recent being at VIE a few weeks ago where the driver went berserk on me that I refused to pay extra in cash for a terminal drop off. He even followed me into the terminal entrance screaming at me. To make it more insulting was that this was a Black sedan.
I give one star ratings to every single driver who drives without being vaccinated for COVID19. If you are an Uber or Lyft driver and are unimmunized, please either vax up or get off the road. Nobody needs to be in the car with you.
Or idk don’t get into someone else’s car if you’re that scared! It’s not your business if someone is Vax or not! No one is making you get into their car! You can get a car and drive yourself!
I respectfully disagree. Yes, it is my business. Two things that stand out from your post that I’d like to draw attention to: #1 the meat of your comment, and #2 the idea that I should not get in a car if I am “that scared.” I will address #1 first.
Concerning the idea that it is not my business if someone is vaxed or not, we are in a pandemic. Yes, I completely understand that this is personal medical information. Before this pandemic, it was flat out unthinkable to anyone, myself included, that a situation would ever come up that would ever give me the right to ask such a question. There was never an actual life or death public health threat that literally stood on the shoulders on those who didn’t take an offered vaccine. This just wasn’t a thing. Our world hadn’t fallen this low yet. So actually I should agree with your comment, with 1 caveat. It
not be our business whether someone is vaxed or not in a trusting, proper civilized society.
But look at the reasons why people aren’t taking a vaccine. Let me tell you what I have heard.
•It’s experimental. (In the early days, this was understandable, it
a new vaccine. I didn’t personally use this excuse, but I know many who did, and it was understandable. But it isn’t new anymore, it’s proven itself).
•It doesn’t work. (False)
•Religious reasons. (Are they genuine? If you’re Christian, they’re not, the Bible actually suggests the opposite)
•BAfrican Americans who are worried about being used as guinea pigs (I’m sorry bros, what happened to your people was horrible, but this shot works so go get it)
•Politics (It’s not political)
I have only heard this one once:
•I have medical issues that make it unsafe for me to get the shot. (To you, I’m sorry, you have a legit reason, you shouldn’t have to pay the price because others around you are stupid).
So this isn’t a trusting, civilized society anymore. Unfortunately, the vast, vast, vast majority of those who aren’t vax have proven themselves untrustworthy. They’re not taking the shot because they
don’t want to
take it, not because they
take it. What would you tell me if this was the MMR vaccine, or the polio vaccine? COVID is as bad as any of these viruses, or worse (in the case of Mumps). The numbers may not show this yet, but that’s entirely because it’s so new.
#2: the issue that I should “stay home.” COVID is part of life now. I should be able to walk safely in our world. If I encounter someone who is not vaxed, they are making the world unsafe by walking around and clogging up our hospitals, again, for reasons that are
medical. So no, the answer is not to just stay home and cry like a baby. It’s to stand up for what I believe in. My belief is that those who are hurting us by their own free will should be held to account for their behavior. I’m not going to stop doing that.
and Alan is example number #1.
Can anyone imagine that there are people like him out there?
But the vaccine is for personal protection. You still spread Covid when vaccinated. So I’m lost on your one star rating when it’s you who should be vaccinated to protect yourself. Also it’s you who can spread Covid as well while vaccinated. Vaccinated just means less likely to die or be hospitalized not “the virus stops spreading”
Why are you going in the car if you’re that worried? just cancel and get a new driver. It’s their choice.
I’m going to answer you honestly, and you’re not going to like the answer.
Why don’t I just not get in the car and get a new driver? Because drivers will lie and say that I don’t have a mask on. If links were allowed, I would send an email with my account suspension due to this. Not one of these reports was accurate, I always wear a mask when getting into an Uber or a Lyft, this benefits the driver because claiming that I didn’t wear a mask doesn’t impact their ride acceptance rate. You’re right, this would be a kinder way to go about it, but I’ve paid the price for that, and learned that taking the high road hurts me in measurable ways, so I simply cannot do so anymore.
Don’t take the ride then, rather than being a total a-hole who downrates a driver because of your own prejudices.
Why though? The jab doesn’t stop the spread, it just stops the person who gets the jab from getting seriously ill. As a driver, I never divulge my health care choices nor do I ever ask what someone else’s is. It’s none of my business and it is none of your business either. But, if I’m going to be honest, you seem like the type of person who would rate 1 star and leave no tip regardless of the service you were provided any ways. I could be wrong, but if your basing your rating off of a vaccine status and not the level of service you were provided, then you are just making excuses that are far removed from the purpose of the rating. Would you rate a restaurant 1 star because the public sidewalk down the road from the restaurant was dirty? My guess…probably. And then probably demand a discount because of it. Lay off the CNN for a while and get your facts straight.
@JB: If I’m being honest, you shouldn’t be allowed to drive for Uber or Lyft. That’s it. Why? Because if you are unvaccinated, science says that you have a higher likelihood of having, and spreading, the virus to others, contrary to what you said. I’m going to be honest again, JB. Even if I agreed with you (I don’t), your comment is subhuman and completely disrespectful, almost as disrespectful as it is to drive for Uber and Lyft when unvaccinated. If enough passengers were to do what I do and you ended up out of a job and on the street because of this, I would not cry a tear for you or be sorry for you, I would think you would be right where you belong, on the street, without a car or a job. That might teach you a real lesson about how society works and about how being a “victim” might come back and bite you.
Lol. @alan brilliant. In case you didn’t notice, the vax doesn’t work. Maybe YOU should stay home?
A universal truth i have found. Any culture, any country, any language you may or may not have good time in your travels but you can bet that the taxi driver will be a scoundrel and out to cheat you. Not all taxi drivers are scoundrels, but that is a good bet to take.
That why it pays off to pay more and get a taxi arranged by a hotel. The driver knows if he/she screws up his business with that hotel is done. I learned that the hard way after so many trips to Thailand. I left several taxis in the middle of the ride once the driver turned the meter off when trip was already in motion.
I was once cheated by an autorickshaw driver in India despite the fare being agreed upon with assistance of the hotel staff. The driver demanded a $2 fuel surcharge, which was significant compared with the fare. However, I deemed the risk and cost of being stabbed to $2 and paid it.
Caucasus, not Caucus
Uber has been in existence for 13 years. It has lost money for….. 13 years. Lyft same but shorter story. If not for the SoftBank of Japan a group of ultra-mega-uber-rich Saudi princes, Uber wouldn’t even exist.
What bothers me is people willing to burn money for 13 years to try and decimate private and public transport to build out what they eventually hope to be a monopoly so they can then charge what they want and reap a windfall.
There used to be enforcement of laws for these types of predatory business practices, but when done by the rich and powerful the laws already on the books are just ignored and ultimately decent paying jobs are destroyed and replaced by ones that are transitory with poor pay.
Stop calling it a rideshare. It’s a taxi hailing app service.