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Public transportation is a godsend when everything is running as it should. You may run into the occasional nuisance, like a weather-related delay or a drunken hobo accosting you for money, but on most days relying on public transit is a safe bet.
Uber and Lyft, in all of their infinite wisdom, decided a few years back that the public transit model was a market that they needed to tap into. They call them pools or lines, and they’ve become quite popular amongst people who don’t want to ride a bus or subway system but still want that feeling of sitting next to strangers in a cramped space.
The idea of the UberPool is a nice one. Through some algorithm that is no doubt incredibly complicated, Uber and Lyft figured out a way to get people going in the same general direction into the same car and get dropped off individually.
The rides are exponentially cheaper and you’re still getting picked up right where you want to be, and although you may have to wait a few extra minutes to get to your destination, you’re saving a lot of money by going this route instead of the traditional UberX or Lyft.
For some, the waiting that one has to do in a pool simply isn’t worth it, but if you’re not in a huge rush the savings that you’ll see is pretty staggering. And that part of this idea is awesome. I loathe paying for Ubers and this service makes my wallet hurt a little bit less.
The problem with UberPool and Lyft Line is that people haven’t yet realized that this is the same thing as taking a bus or subway car. Either that or I just always get stuck in the worst ones.
You don’t see strangers on a bus talking to each other about what they’re doing tonight or who they’re going to see. On a bus everyone keeps their head down and shuts the hell up because no one cares what someone else is doing with the rest of their evening. It’s just an unspoken agreement (especially in New York and Chicago) that you don’t talk on the train unless you’re riding with someone you know.
When I get into Uber Pools the people sitting in the car with me always feel the need to divulge super personal information. I was in one a few weekends ago and I took the front seat because there were two girls and a guy already in the back of the car.
One of the girls started asking me about what I majored in during college. I was shocked that she didn’t ask me how my parents were doing back in Michigan. I laughed off her question and gave her a polite answer but in my head, I was just confused and a little bit angry if I’m being completely honest. I signed up for a cheaper ride.
I knew it was going to be cramped, but if I had known I was going to get grilled about the mistakes I made in undergrad and who I was seeing on that night I would have just taken the more expensive UberX. The six dollars I saved was not worth the horrible conversation I was forced to endure that night.
Why are we forcing these conversations? Is it so much to ask that we just sit in peace, sharing silence with one another? I’d say let’s put our headphones in and just forget about this problem I keep having in the Pools and Lines of the world, but then the strangers in the seats would assume that I’m a rude person. Contrary to popular belief I’m not rude, I went to cotillion for years and have impeccable manners.
UberPool is not a fucking meet and greet. We’re sharing cabs with one another, not sitting down in a restaurant to break bread. Just shut the fuck up and stop trying to make small talk with me.
No matter how uncomfortable the silence in the car is, I promise you it’s better than sitting in a car with two or three other strangers and talking about your commute to work or if anyone has been to the bar that Kristy in the back left seat is headed to this evening. Fuck..
Image via YouTube