What kind of San Franciscan are you?

In the past several months, I’ve heard the marina referred to as “the neighborhood for snobby scum” (not my favorite), “post-grad Greek Row”, “the place where everyone just moved here two weeks ago”, frat mason, and the toolbox. I’ve met some awesome people who live in the marina, and I’ve also met some jerks. There is no doubt people are flooding into this area in their twenties and thirties, commissioned by a start-up or tech company or something of the equivalent, but I suppose this neighborhood is no poorer a reflection on my generation than any other neighborhood.

Nevertheless, just like I am often torn between “treat yo self” and “I wanna look good naked” (as the Fat Jewish would say), I am also often torn in my identity as a San Franciscan. I’ve lived hear for over four years. In that time, I’ve identified as a student, an artist, a teacher, a sorority girl. In a city with such distinct neighborhood cultures, where do I fit in? Does looking for a place in the marina mean selling my soul and turning my back on my hippy artist friends? Will spending more time in the mission ultimately lead me to trade in my acaii bowls for burritos, my uber for a bike? (Just kidding, I take Lyft.)

This storm of thoughts brewed in my brain today as a result of learning about SF’s new luxury buses, Leap. Part of me thinks, “this is so cool! I want to join!” while the other part is saying “Really? A) more cars/buses on the road. B) I’m not a techie, nor can I actually afford this, so why does it matter, and C) What will happen to muni? Will SF Muni die out just like the cabs are?

As much as I struggle to remain optimistic that muni is actually more efficient, I like that is sort of shoves all SF walks of life together in one big, stinky bus for our morning and evening commutes. I can’t help but think that hopping on board another one of these new transportation methods will cause an even greater divide between the people of San Francisco. As much as you want to deny it, lets face it. White, wealthy, young people have yet another excuse to stick to their own, while the poor, disabled, mostly people of color, and people over sixty will be left on muni, stuck in traffic behind a Google bus, a Chariot shuttle, a dozen Ubers, and now a luxury Leap bus.

The personal and business benefits are obvious. But is the cost a more segregated San Francisco, a city that prides itself on diversity?

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The SF Transportation Trifecta- Which is better?

Ask any Uber(x), Lyft, or Sidecar driver which company is the best, and they will all give you a list of reasons why they are the best out of any of them. Within the past six months, I have accumulated all three of these transportation apps on my phone, after having done the “Try us and get a free ride!” promotion with each one. So, for those of you out there who are looking to download one of these, or maybe even apply for a job at one, I have broken down the aspects of what makes the best, the best.

Timing:

There are tons of Ubers, all the time, EVERYWHERE. You need not wait very long for an Uber or Uber X to come riding up to you in a black Toyota Prius/Town Car/ SUV. But, go outside, because they usually will not call you, and if they wait for you for a while, they will leave yo’ ass. Lyft, is similar, almost always ensuring you will be getting a car in a timely fashion, although, just as in Uber, during busy hours the rates will skyrocket. Sidecar is almost always around, but there are less of them. There have been a few instances in which I have had to wait ten minutes (GASP!) for a Sidecar. One plus with sidecar, however, is that they always call you when they arrive. So for laggers like me who need the extra second to slap on some shoes/jewelry/lipstick, this is a godsend because I can ask the driver to wait just one minute, and they always do.

Friendliness

Uber is all about the formality (They wear suits!) and Uber X is pretty similar. A lot of these guys are super friendly, but many of them are immigrants and I have often times struggled with the language barrier when trying to strike up conversation. Lyft drivers are for the most part very friendly, sometimes too friendly- I’ve had friends report to me getting hit on/weirded out by their Lyft drivers. Not Cool. Each Lyft driver also does a little “pound it!” on the fist every time I get in, which makes me feel A) like we’re drinking buddies and B) like they don’t want to touch my hand. Do they get trained on fist-bumping at Lyft headquarters? I wonder…

Sidecar has SUPER friendly drivers, so friendly that I have had a bunch of these guys miss turns, stops, etc because they were so engrossed in our conversation. I mean, I don’t really mind this, partly because it is kind of in my nature to run excruciatingly late to everything in my life (I’m not proud of this),  and also because Sidecar has a set price before you start the ride, instead of a tab, which brings me to my next point..

Dolla Dolla Bills, ya’ll

Only take Uber if you are willing to pay the big bucks, or if you have a bunch of hooligans who need to share an SUV. Uber X is less expensive, but it’s still “up there”. Apparently on these apps you can “Share a ride” with a friend and split the price, which is pretty gosh darn cool for those of us who aren’t yet on Venmo – too many apps, too little time.

Lyft is pretty good, especially if it’s happy hour. Which sometimes happens during actual Happy Hour, which needless to say makes me very happy. During Primetime, a huge tip is added, as is the same for Uber and Uber X, at which point I open up my Sidecar App…

Different drivers on sidecar charge different prices but it is for the most part pretty low. The price is set before you even get in the car (this is the only app that you give your destination to beforehand).

The Perks

Yeah, Uber gives you water. Sidecar drivers let you play your own music occasionally and sometimes have candy/mints. But Lyft, oh sweet Lyft….

Aaaawwwwwww Yeaauhhhhhhhhhh

Let me describe my first Lyft experience for you: I get in the car with four friends. I am in the front seat and the other three are in the back. Instantly, I am mesmorized. There are low-key strobe lights hitting an array of colors on my feet. The driver greats us with the usual fist bump, and then turns down Michael Jackson to let us know what’s up: “Hey ya’ll! How ya doin’ tonight?! Just so you all know, there’s Super Mario Bro’s on in the back seat…” I’m not shitting you. This happened. ” And…” she reaches over to pull down the glove compartment in front of me… “Snacks!” Candy bars (not fun-sized, the big ones), cheeze-its, cookies. All there. Needless to say, we had her take us the long way home.

Who wins? Comment below with your input.

Oh. PS- What, you might ask, happened to the good ol’ fashioned Taxi companies? How could I forget the aggressive drivers, ridiculous prices, cash-only, anxiety-inducing experiences they provide? Well. Just like that. If you are someone who continues to ride taxis in San Francisco, you are either a masochist, or you are not San Franciscan. Please, people, invest in a smart phone.

See you on the road.