You can make up all the reasons you want that you think taxis are a better way to get around (for example, with Lyft Line, you DO know how much you’re paying before you request the ride), but when it comes down to, taxis were not serving San Francisco well. Before Lyft/Uber, when I tried to live in Potrero Hill without a car, taxis I called would take at least 30 mins to come by, if they came at all. And I’d have no idea when they were coming or how I had to get ready. With Lyft/Uber, you always know, because you’re paired with one driver and see them on the map. I moved downtown back in 2010 because living without a car in Potrero proved very difficult. Being downtown was different — at least there, I could actually see taxis driving by and we’d rarely call for one. We’d go out to the street, and the group would split up, each person looking and waving their hand in a different direction. 5, 10, 15 minutes later we’d finally get a cab to pull over, if we hadn’t given up by then and decided to walk.
It’s not privilege that drove me to work at Lyft and change this system. It’s the acknowledgement that there has to, there must be, a better way. And better yet, it’s something I share both sides of — having given more than 400 rides as a Lyft driver, often to folks headed the same way.
Dare I say that, these days, I think could even go back to living in Potrero Hill, and actually be able to get around the city without a car. That’s no thanks to taxis or expanded Muni service. That’s thanks to ride-sharing apps.