Amtrak and Lyft

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Amtrak and Lyft

Postby Greg Moore » Tue Aug 01, 2017 6:46 pm

I think this is a good idea and a good partnership.

Of course the fact that they no longer support the Windows App means it's not very useful for me.
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Re: Amtrak and Lyft

Postby jonnhrr » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:50 am

Me neither since the phone I have is not of the favored iPhone/Android flavor I can't get most of these apps.

Call me an old fashioned dinosaur but I don't see what's wrong with the way things used to work - you walk out of the station to the cab stand get in the first cab in line and give your destination. No electronics needed, no worry about what to do if your phone battery is dead. But I guess soon cabs will die out as people seem to prefer having some unlicensed amateur drive them to their destination, so I'll have to get with the program.

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Re: Amtrak and Lyft

Postby Tadman » Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:07 am

As a very frequent traveler, perhaps I can lend some insight.

Cabs in cities like Chicago or New York are readily available downtown, at places like NYP or Union Station. They are usually somewhat dirty and there's a 50/50 chance driven by a surly individual that may take liberties with the route. They frequently lie about the credit card machine "not working". There is a 1-800 complaint number but good luck.

In places like Jackson, MI, where I once had to make repeat trips, there are three cabs in the phone book. They take 30-45 minutes to show up. The cab is gross. The fare varies in proportion to strength of the yen and moon gravitational pull. The same applies in places like Charleston, Fort Worth, Tacoma, Buffalo, Vancouver, South Bend, etc...

I have not been in a cab by choice in years, because Uber and Lyft drivers are generally positive and clean. It's a bit like the comparison between UPS and US Mail. I find USPS employees far less motivated than UPS, to the point I will gladly pay more at UPS to get the same thing.

As for Windows Mobile OS, per the below linked study, 99% of phones are Apple iOS or Google/Android. I had a few windows phones for work about ten years ago and intensely disliked them, and it seems the market did so as well. These days, you can't blame a mobile app for only having iOS or Android. Asking an app developer to do Windows Mobile would be like asking Norfolk Southern to buy Baldwin diesels. It's not even on the radar.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/2/16/1463 ... berry-2016

Long story short, Lyft and Amtrak partnership makes travel much more viable to mid-size cities like South Bend or Charleston, because it puts in place an infrastructure to get one quickly from a station on the crummy side of town to a hotel on the clean side of town. Nobody wants to wait for a cab in South Bend at the time Amtrak comes.
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Re: Amtrak and Lyft

Postby GirlOnTheTrain » Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:30 am

Unlicensed amateur? Depends where you're utilizing these services...

Every cab I've been in (admittedly not many) has been disgusting and either the machine or meter has been defective...every Uber or Lyft I've taken (far more) has been immaculate. Then again, in New York Uber & Lyft drivers are required to have a TLC license anyway, so I suppose it's irrelevant here. Ridesharing drivers have incentive to not be jerks - you can rate them.
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Re: Amtrak and Lyft

Postby mtuandrew » Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:42 am

Indeed, it's a yin-yang. Either cab companies and transit agencies will force regulation on Lyft and Uber (as they did in the early 1900s with jitney drivers) or they won't, and Uber and Lyft will eventually act like cab companies themselves. I wouldn't be surprised in the very near future to see loose confederations of Lyft/Uber drivers consolidating maintenance under one roof and pooling profits. (Self-driving cars will only speed :P that consolidation process.)

Smart move by Amtrak regardless of what happens with cab companies.

A close friend of mine tells me that MS has rescinded Windows Mobile devices and now only issues Android devices to employees. Writing's on the tablet, folks, unless one of you can make a Win10 IoT phone that runs Android-based apps.
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Re: Amtrak and Lyft

Postby SouthernRailway » Wed Aug 02, 2017 12:54 pm

This is a good move by Amtrak. Now if Amtrak could find a way to make rental cars accessible at its smaller stations--perhaps partner with Lyft AND/or a rental car company for a ride to the rental car place, included in the price of the rental car?
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Re: Amtrak and Lyft

Postby dumpster.penguin » Wed Aug 02, 2017 7:26 pm

Competition does wonders. Members of this august Forum are tired of being railroaded by taxis!...

At any rate, it is a super *duper* dandy idea to summon rides for whenever the train pulls in (is that what Amtrak does?), because (a) normally no one knows when that will be, and (b) there is always an apparent shortage of taxis.

But, will someone please report back how this works out? So, say, 180 passengers destined for greater Syracuse pre-order a Lyft before the "Maple Leaf" pulls into the station. At some point Julie summons the drivers. The mob of passengers all emerge at the curb together. Ready to meet them is half-a-mile of Lyft cars. Is each car is waiting for a specific passenger, as usually happens when multiple people at the same place request a ride? With two or three passengers, you sort it out, but beyond half-a-dozen, doesn't it get difficult?
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Re: Amtrak and Lyft

Postby Greg Moore » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:16 pm

So here's what I find a bit frustrating.

Several years ago as I was trying to get QuiCR (see my signature, it never really took off) off the ground, I spoke to a local taxi company. We came up with an idea, and I developed an app that was basically "Uber lite" for taxi companies. Basically the local companies drop off a lot of folks at ALB, but not all of them have rights to wait for rides.

So, the idea was to give customers a business card with a QR code on it. The QR code took them to a web page where they could select their location, party size and 1 or 2 other parameters and then send the message to the dispatcher.

Wrote it, demoed it. He loved it. And then balked on licensing it. Very unfortunate, I think it could have been a hit.

I do wonder if it would be worth approaching him again. Hmm.
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Re: Amtrak and Lyft

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:02 am

dumpster.penguin wrote:Competition does wonders. Members of this august Forum are tired of being railroaded by taxis


Mr. Penguin, from one who was last in a taxicab a year ago (in Vienna; Mr. Google got me hopelessly lost and had me walking about in circles) and has never used a service such as Uber or Lyft, your literary skills are "UbLyfting". :P :P
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Re: Amtrak and Lyft

Postby gokeefe » Thu Aug 03, 2017 8:03 am

dumpster.penguin wrote:With two or three passengers, you sort it out, but beyond half-a-dozen, doesn't it get difficult?


That depends on how many Lyft drivers are working in a given area. I would guess that Lyft has the ability to message off duty drivers asking for them to come in during a demand surge.
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Re: Amtrak and Lyft

Postby GirlOnTheTrain » Thu Aug 03, 2017 11:29 am

If people look at the information provided by Lyft, they can work out which car is for who.

Also, if people have destinations that are in the same area, they can make the rides into Lyft Line-type deals - share the ride with someone heading in the same general direction. (I use the equivalent on Uber all the time, if only because nobody actually gets paired with me - you then get the cheaper fare anyway.)
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Re: Amtrak and Lyft

Postby jonnhrr » Thu Aug 03, 2017 1:20 pm

Actually I don't have a Windows phone OS but a Blackberry (remember them?) Since 90% of what I use it for is texting, I like having a real keyboard rather than the touchy-screen. But I know I am fighting a losing battle and will sooner or later have to cave in and get the Iphone/Android flavor of the month.

I agree that sometimes cabs and their drivers can be less than ideal. Perhaps the competition from Uber/Lyft will get them to clean up their act.

Also this is a smart move by Amtrak in any case.

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Re: Amtrak and Lyft

Postby GirlOnTheTrain » Thu Aug 03, 2017 1:28 pm

What, no Blackberry that can run Android apps? I thought those were a thing ;)
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Re: Amtrak and Lyft

Postby gokeefe » Thu Aug 03, 2017 2:34 pm

Worth mentioning ... I have used Lyft to transfer from Boston North Station to Boston South Station and back for Amtrak train travel on both ends. It works very well and of course is cheaper than taking a taxi.
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