Of course, with Uber buying Jump, it was only a matter of time before Lyft joined the e-scooter war, along with everybody else and their brothers. Unlike Bird and Lime, Jump and Lyft combine their e-scooter/e-bike apps with their ride sharing app. According to the Lyft founders, their long term plan is to help people with all of their transportation needs, even if it means you will ride a scooter to a train station instead of getting a Lyft car.
Although I don’t use the Lyft ride share, there are so many Lyft e-scooters in West LA, I decided to check it out. It didn’t hurt that there was one right outside when I was about to walk to go eat.
As you can see below (left), the app shows their area for their scooters in purple in the map. If you try to get a scooter after hours, you see the message at the top of that screen and the buttons at the bottom are deactivated.
As with all the other e-scooters, you download the app, then enter your credit card info, and scan your driver’s license. Next, scan the barcode on the top of the e-scooter (see below) and start your ride.
Everything was going great until I was finished with my ride. Like Bird, the app asks you to take a picture of the scooter (see middle above) but when I touched “Take a Photo,” the app crashed (see right above). Ah hell NO!
When I launched the app again, I got to the same spot and again it crashed when I tried to take a picture. Now I started to panic because I’m getting charged by the minute. The first thing I did was use the “X” to close the take a photo screen and then I put the ride on hold so no other rider could get on the scooter. But you still get charged while you have the scooter on hold. I tried rebooting my phone (Samsung Galaxy S10+) with the same results. Nothing I tried worked. I gave up and left the scooter.
After about an hour and a half, I launched the app again and it had finally ended the ride automatically. However, I got charged $14 for my 3 minute ride. I managed to figure out how to send a message to Lyft and they got back to me the same day with this email below.
Thank goodness their customer support seems to be on the ball. I emailed them and they got back to me almost immediately with a reply that they will only charge me for the 3 minute ride. It would have been nicer if they gave me a free promo code or something for my trouble but I guess that’s asking too much.
In any case, the Lyft e-scooter app is not ready for prime time and should not be used. This makes me think that Lyft, the ride sharing company might not be ready for prime time either. I’ve always used Uber so I don’t know if they are good or not. What I do know is this. I didn’t buy Lyft stock at the top after the IPO at $89 because it’s down to $72 right now. If their stock is anything like their app, stay away.