How Uber, Lyft & Metro Ruined A Life-Changing Opportunity For Me

By Terrance Turner

March 11, 2022

Last night, I was slated to attend a forum about work and career called “Bet on Yourself: Build Your Dream Career.” It was to begin at 5:00 pm at Rice University. Given that I’m at a crossroads in my career right now and looking for ways to reinvent, this seemed like a godsend. Someone very important to me would be there, and the event would give me an important opportunity to network. I decided to go.

The event would take place at the Glasscock Center for Continuing Studies at Rice University. I couldn’t afford to take an Uber all the way there, and I have no car. So once I put together a smart, business ensemble, I planned my trip and how to fund it with the meager funds I have. The plan was to catch an Uber to the bus stop near Kroger on Woodforest and Normandy, then ride the #137 and Metro Rail into downtown and then catch an Uber to Rice. But that didn’t happen.

I called the Uber around 4 pm; my driver Shawn showed up around 4:20. Within 30 seconds of me getting in the vehicle, he had to stop in the middle of the street because his app was “offline”. Then he missed a crucial left turn at Woodbend Drive — which every other Uber driver has successfully made since I started riding with Uber SIX YEARS AGO. I told him he’d missed the turn; he ignored me. We ended up on the scenic route through my neighborhood, and then he missed another turn, this one on Hopeville St. I told him that, and he responded, ” I guess I was running my mouth too much I missed the turn.”

This time, he refersed and successfully made the turn. We rode without incident until we got to the intersection of Normandy and Woodforest. The bus stop was literally feet away, and that’s where I needed to be in order to catch the #137. I said out loud, “You can turn here — get in the left lane and then make the turn.” He refused to deviate from the app map, telling me, “No, it’s saying I have to go ahead 600 feet.” 🙄

So he went ahead 600 feet and dropped me off at the front of the Kroger storefront. I had to walk from there across the parking lot to the bus stop. And as I was walking across the lot, I saw the #137 pass by. Shawn had cost me my bus trip downtown.

I waited for the next bus, which took over half an hour to arrive. (METRO’s text messaging service told me the bus would arrive at 5:02; it in fact did not arrive until 5:10.) I got on the bus, which promptly got stuck in a traffic jam the minute it got near Fifth Ward. We sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic fro over 15 minutes, and the driver had the nerve to ask US, the passengers, if we knew any alternate routes to reach Fifth Ward. (Absolutely not.)

Meanwhile, the woman seated behind me insisted on playing her RATCHET rap music at full volume even though the driver asked her twice to turn her music down or at least plug in headphones. She did neither. So I was stuck listening to her music and looking at her nappy hair.

We finally got downtown after 6:30 pm (by which point the event was probably already over.) l walked to Central Station Main and called a Lyft. (I had uninstalled Uber by this point, which I recommend to everyone at this point, since they’re clearly not committed to quality customer service.) I decided in favor of riding to the Downtown Transit Center and catching a ride from there.

Lyft wouldn’t let me enter the Glasscock Center as a destination, so I settled for the address: 6100 Main St. Houston TX., 77005. When my driver Arsenio finally arrived after 10 minutes, I spent half of the ride listening to notifications on his iPhone about texts from his aunt. Once we finally arrived at Rice University, he dropped me off in front of Allen Center. I asked if this was anywhere near Glasscock Center, and he told me “I don’t know northing’.” (I don’t know if you deserve a tip, Arsenio.)

I asked a passer-by about Glasscock Center and found out that it was 10 minutes in the other direction. I walked for over half an hour in the dark, until I realized I was at the Ley Student Center. I asked the attendant inside for help and quickly realized that he didn’t know how to get there, either. But I took his advice, using the map that he gave me, and ended up off campus entirely (off Dryden St. near Sunset Boulevard).

Once I went back inside campus limits, I ended up at the ROTC center. I went inside and asked the receptionist for help. He told me that the Glasscock center was right next door. So I walked over and went inside — at 7:50 pm — only to find out that I was too late. A custodian inside told me that he was about to lock up the building because the event was over.

So I wasted three hours (and half an hour on foot, walking in SUEDE LOAFERS) because Uber, Lyft, and Metro can’t get their shit together. I encourage you to boycott al three platforms if you can, but especially Uber, given their failure to take responsibility for their own mistakes. When I reported this egregious error to them, they responded:

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