As a country, we are wealthy, diverse, and technologically sophisticated. Yet, our basic need for transportation is largely neglected in major cities. Some even say we’ve lost the sense of community that used to carry us throughout our day – even a gentle greeting is rejected. Today, people live in their own world and don’t have time for others. Some say our modern work life and social media technology have fueled this isolation. Have we become so caught up in our own lives that we don’t notice life outside of our bubble? Are we less willing to see each other as neighbors?
I am an interaction design student in San Francisco.
With a college student budget, and a lack of free time, I take my commute hours as free time to myself. I keep myself updated with a newsfeed, read my saved articles, catch up with Facebook, my Instagram followers, etc. All of these make it hard for me to acknowledge others around me.
After 3 years of commuting to school, I decided to venture beyond the typical MUNI transportation experience. I wanted to test out other ways of commuting. I decided to try the hip thing, using technology, the very thing that is isolating us, to commute to school via connecting with other car rides instead of public buses. So for the next 30 days, I challenged myself to commute as much as I could using Lyft Line.
Lyft Line is one of the three ride option offered by Lyft, the on-demand rideshare service with unabashed pink mustaches. The philosophy of Lyft Line is to conveniently and neighborly get commuters from point A to point B with the least possible of vehicles on the road. Commuters who are heading towards a similar and close destination share a Lyft ride at a low cost, up to 60% off the original Lyft. Lyft is betting that it can use economic incentives to change people's attitudes of ridesharing. Lyft’s founder believes that Lyft Line is the future of the company’s ambition. Needless to say, I was pretty excited by the prospect of having a better way of commuting.
A Few Ground Rules
- Avoid public buses, but if I must, I would wait for no more than 4 minutes.
- Avoid any bus trip that required a transfer.
- I should leverage my connections to carpool, and finally any ride should be conversational.
Hopefully, I would make a few connections, lessen my commute time, and get some free time to myself before and after classes.