Lyft or Uber: Which Is Deaf-Friendlier?



 

Many people ask whether I prefer Lyft or Uber, and which is more deaf-friendly.  I’ve worked for both companies since 2015, and I’ve loved every minute of it. Both are quite similar in how they operate, and I don’t have a preference toward either company. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to work for both companies, and trust them to take my feedback seriously so they can improve services for their Deaf and Hard of Hearing drivers.

I should point out that Lyft has worked closely with the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) in ensuring better communication between the Lyft company and its Deaf drivers. Lyft has been very accommodating, such as adding a feature to its app that visually notifies me of my next rider. This helps ease the stress of having to watch my phone for my next rider (hearing drivers can hear a beep). With Uber, my acceptance rate percentage has declined because I’m not always able to see when someone books a ride (as opposed to the beeping hearing drivers can hear). It’s the little things like this that makes me appreciate Lyft more; I’ve shared this feedback with Uber.

On the other hand, Uber makes it easier to reach their support lines, while Lyft will only call me, rather than having me call them. To reach Lyft, I have to use a specific text number. Both companies caption all of their videos, although there have been times on social media when they released videos that weren’t captioned. This is a great opportunity for us all to contact them and remind them to make everything they release accessible to all people.

Many of my friends who are Deaf prefer driving for Uber because they can work with the UberEats aspect of the company. There are other small differences, but nothing that makes either company more superior to the other. I also deal with typical miscommunications, which I’ve written about here, check my other blog: [Lack of Awareness about ASL Has Impact On Businesses].

Another common question people ask me is for stories of my more interesting riders. I’ll share one particularly memorable ride. One afternoon, the rider I was going to pick up sent me a text letting me know that she was on the other side of the building. She also added that her phone was about to run out of battery power. I eventually located her and drove her to the grocery store she had listed in her booking. She said that the store she wanted to go was actually at another location a couple of miles away.

I asked her if she wanted to book another ride, or I could wait for her to finish shopping. She gestured clearly that she was “done,” so I ended the booking. But then as she was exiting the car, she asked me to wait for her and take her home after she was done shopping. I told her that I was sorry but couldn’t do it because the trip had already ended. If she wanted me to do that, she needed to rebook the ride. She held up her phone to me, showing me that the battery had died.

Communication was clearly not an issue here; she was upset to the point where she was begging. I continued to refuse not only for the booking reason, but also because it could have become a safety issue. She got angry enough that she slammed the door as she left. I gave her a one-star rating, and Lyft immediately contacted me to check if I was okay. I explained the situation, and Lyft ensured that I would never get her requests again. This is just one of many ways that Lyft and Uber ensure the safety of their drivers and riders.

I’ll continue driving for both companies as long as I can. I’m in Arizona, where nobody likes to stay out in the heat or monsoon season very long. So I’m always happy to get people to where they need to be, in my air-conditioned vehicle with bottles of cold water ready for them!

Check Ride with Robb page here for more information about Lyft or Uber. 

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