It was Derbytime 2013 and I was having a fine time at Big Bar. I was having so good of a fine time, I decided I better not drive, even though I live only about a mile from the establishment. I’m not sure why I didn’t just walk home, because that’s usually my go-to means of late-night transportation. But I decided to call a cab. Maybe I just needed to go to bed right that second, or perhaps I forgot to set the DVR for “Grey’s Anatomy.”
Whatever the case, I hopped in that cab and watched as the fare climbed faster and more annoyingly than that yodeling mountain climber on “The Price is Right.” They tacked on a “Derby” fee before I had even closed the cab’s door. For the distance of about 1 mile, my fare was $25. I was pissed. Do you know how many Fireball shots I could have had for $25?
I feel like they gouged the prices to take advantage of tourists. Where’s the Southern hospitality in that? When a cab ride costs more than a decent bottle of bourbon, there’s something wrong.
Luckily, two new taxi-like services have just ridden into town to save the day. One is called Uber, the other is Lyft, and I’ve used them both within the last few weeks and had great experiences. These services are available in major cities throughout the United States and were started in San Francisco. They kinda take the taxi company out of the equation — the people picking you up could be friends, neighbors, teachers looking to make extra money in the summer — anyone, really, who has a car and has been approved as a Lyft or Uber driver.
And the best part is, no money is ever exchanged. You download their apps — lyft.com or uber.com — and when you want a ride home, you just pull up the app and request a driver. You can see on the screen how many drivers are near you at the time and even who they are. You can pick a driver by their rating, name, photo, personality profile, car — whatever your drunk ass fancies. And then they tell you how long it’ll take to pick you up. If you feel like it, you can even watch the little car graphic wind its way through the streets of Louisville to reach you. It’s kinda like “Frogger,” except, hopefully, your driver doesn’t get taken out by a semi truck or a floating log.
Both companies say their fees are cheaper than most taxi companies, and both strive to hire the friendliest and most dependable drivers, which you can rate after your experience. I used Uber a few weeks ago from the BBC at Third and Main to my house in the Highlands, and the fare was an affordable $10.76. I didn’t have to fumble through my purse — the entire transaction took place through the app, which has my credit card info attached to it. They don’t even want or expect a tip — it’s all factored into the fare.
You may have seen some of the Lyft cars around town — they all have a pink mustache mounted on the front of their vehicles. I asked Lyft driver Drew Bailey a few things about the service, and he’s thrilled to help spread the word. Bailey works as a JCPS teacher but says he makes more in two nights as a Lyft driver than he does all week as a teacher.
“Lyft’s slogan is ‘Your Friend with a Car,’ and we try to embody that with every passenger we pick up,” he says. “Lyft is at least 20 percent cheaper than a cab, we come to you, and it’s a cashless system (no worries if you’ve spent all of your dough at the bar or your purse or wallet was stolen or lost). Lyft drivers also are encouraged to have treats for passengers (water, candy, energy bars, etc.), and we have phone chargers as well.”
I would be remiss not to also mention a favorite local service that’s always reliable and affordable — CityScoot, which gets you and your car home safely on those nights when you don’t want to leave your car parked on a random street.
Drunk Texts of the Week
• You need to get that blood pumpin down to your vagina and back!
• There’s more tits than teeth in Portland
• Can I be like Boner and live in your garage?
• Can I call you Boner?