Case Study: Lyft’s Insurance Solution in the Real World Contradicts Baseless Attacks by Enemies of TNCs

The Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association (TLPA) is running an initiative called Who’s Driving You, which argues that

Uber and Lyft are serious threats to public safety.

Why? For starters, “ridesharing” companies who use amateur drivers and other unregulated transportation apps are not adequately insured. Their insurance coverage contains various loopholes which could result in uncompensated pain and suffering. These amateur drivers are not subject to screening via public agency background checks that demand fingerprints and that are run through police and FBI databases. Passengers have been assaulted yet some of these companies continue to insist their background checks are the most stringent in the industry. They aren’t.

I challenge taxi medallion owners to publish actual descriptions of accidents in which passengers were victimized by Uber and Lyft, these “serious threats to public safety.”

On the other hand, here’s an example from The Real World of the Sharing Economy.

Here’s what happened when my family got hit while riding in a Lyft
By John Scrofano
GeekWire
3/22/2014

An hour after Seattle City Council voted to cap the number of ride-sharing drivers on city streets; I was in a Lyft (with my two kids) that got rear ended at about 20 miles per hour.  I got to experience first-hand how Lyft deals with safety.

I’ve always been a big fan of Lyft. I’m a bike commuter and our family owns one car. When biking can’t solve my transportation needs, I use a combination of public transit, Car2Go, Lyft and UberX. I’m very happy with these options, feel safe, think the experiences are great, and they meet my market clearing price for many activities. Cabs don’t.

The taxi cab experience is so poor — and so expensive — that I choose not to go somewhere if they are my only option. I certainly wouldn’t put my kids into a cab — if they would even let me.

lyft-pink Monday was no different.  My family was in town because we have a new baby. They filled our family car — a compact Mazda — to go downtown for oyster happy hour.  I stayed at home, waited for my daughter to finish her nap, and summoned a Lyft. The driver was happy for me to strap in two car seats (I also had my six week old), and we were off. I felt good knowing the driver’s 2005 Subaru was a safe car and had modern harness points for the car seat.

We were at a stoplight, talking about city council, and ironically, the real issues behind insurance coverage for Lyft drivers.

Then BOOM!

We got rear-ended so hard that we rammed the car in front of us. It was surreal. My daughter started wailing inconsolably. We looked back to see the woman who hit us, dazed, and covered in the ash and foam of her deployed airbag.

My Lyft driver was calm, apologized to me, and got out of the car to start dealing with the accident. His first call was to Lyft, and then to 911. I crawled in the back seat to comfort my kids and see if they were hurt.

The woman who hit us emerged to see if we were OK. She looked in the back seat, saw me with crying kids, and started crying uncontrollably herself. The third driver appeared, a fire engine showed up, and police were arriving. I couldn’t leave the back of the car to talk to anyone or find out what was going on though as I needed to be with my kids. But I also knew that I should be out there collecting information to make sure we were protected legally.

Within five minutes, someone from Lyft’s “Trust and Safety Team” called my mobile phone. He:

  • apologized profusely
  • asked if he should dispatch paramedics for my kids
  • asked how I was doing
  • offered to send another Lyft asap
  • opened an internal accident report where I would also be emailed information on potential insurance or medical claims
  • credited me a couple free Lyft rides
  • apologized profusely again

The accident wasn’t even their driver’s fault. I was relieved knowing they were capturing all pertinent accident details and I could remain with my kids in the car. I felt secure knowing we were covered under three insurance policies (the driver who caused the accident, my driver, & Lyft’s policy). I even felt cared for by a compassionate safety team and a calm driver.

The following day I got an email from the Lyft Trust and Safety team, along with a follow up call later in the week to make sure my family was healthy, and to tie up loose ends with insurance.

I’m now an even bigger fan of Lyft.

I can’t imagine receiving that level of care, quality, or peace of mind from a cab service. Good thing the Seattle City Council is essentially shutting Lyft down in the name of safety and ‘protecting me’ from this company.

Who wants to go downtown, eat delicious oysters, and support the local economy on a beautiful sunny afternoon with their family anyway?

Sayonara Lyft. I’ll be very sad to see you go.

John Scrofano is the CEO of OneWed, a Seattle startup that helps couples plan for their weddings. You can follow him on Twitter @johnscrofano

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