For many years, I did not own a car after mine was completely totaled in a freak accident. So for years, I used car sharing companies like Zipcar and with the introduction of Uber a few years back, I was a faithful Uber user. One day, I came across this article about an Uber engineer by the name of Susan Fowler who detailed her strange year at Uber. Read the text here. It was an account of a male dominated work place with unprofessional business practices, harassment and lack of accountability by HR and the company overall. This hit close to home and I vowed to vote with my money and my conscience and deleted my Uber account.
Today I am an occasional Lyft user and am happy to see the news that they are committing to carbon offsets.
Here's why. Prior to my life with this blog, in sustainability and personal finance, I worked in IT and adtech, both male dominated industries. While I never experienced the kind of unprofessional behavior Susan went through, I witnessed a few of these scenarios. I even had to report another Director berating this team in front everyone in our own space office. It was not a good experience. HR did not do anything and I was greatly disappointed that it took a year after I left the company for that individual to be dismissed. I also worked with alot of smart women who are quieter in nature, but did not need to be exposed to that kind of male chauvinist behavior. So with that, I deleted Uber (app, account and all).
I've been using Lyft now and again, though prefer to take public transportation or walk if I can help it. There's still something to be said about these ride sharing companies. While they facilitate the ease of getting from one place or another, they do not address the real need to implement good public transportation solutions globally. We wouldn't need Lyft if it was easy to get around by public transportation. I also believe that while a good majority of people are no longer purchasing vehicles for themselves, there is an increase in these drivers and they are purchasing new vehicles for their Lyft businesses instead of continuing to use the old models.
Lyft is also very easy to use. Sometimes, it can be great in a pinch, but for many, the more we rely on it, the more we get used to the convenience. Instead of walking which is far more healthier and better for the environment, we instead throw our money away on a 10 minute car ride. This adds up in the long-run.
So I am happy to see that Lyft has committed to implementing a carbon offset program as part of their sustainability efforts. Based on some quick research, I have not seen something similar come out of Uber. I don't think many of us would think about adding carbon offsets to our ride, but it's great to have companies start thinking about sustainability. While it's not a perfect solution, I think it helps curb emissions. Of course, the perfect solution would be for government and the private sector to work together to build infrastructure that helps facilitate public transportation, cycling lanes and walking lanes, but sometimes we have to go with progress instead of perfection.
But of course, if you can manage it, choose to walk or bike instead.
If not, sign-up for Lyft.