Witness the Messy Downside to Lyft’s Taco Mode

Drivers complain of messy back seats and making less money.

byJustin Hughes|
Car Tech photo

Earlier this month, ride-sharing service Lyft did a trial run of their much publicized Taco Mode, a trip that includes a ride through the Taco Bell drive through. Not surprisingly, Lyft drivers who participated in the test are unhappy with the results. 

Taco Mode debuted in Orange County, California, on the weekends of July 27-30 and August 3-6. Between the hours of 9 PM and 2 AM, Lyft riders could choose to have their drivers take a side trip to pick up a free Doritos Locos Taco, as well as any other menu selections they wished. Although drivers were not required to participate, those who opted in have reported bad experiences with the trial run. 

To drivers' immense surprise, tacos are messy, and eating them in cars spreads that mess all over the area where the taco consumer is riding. "If you willingly sign up for the beta of Taco Hell Mode you are asking for a cheesy, beefy, and greasy backseat," posted one driver on the UberPeople.net forum. "You forgot a thousand pieces of corn tortilla crumbs, all ground into your backseat car rugs," commented another. "And the unmistakably pungent corn/ground beef/taco mystery sauce smell that will be stinking up your entire air vents..."

Another complaint was that drivers lost a great deal of money on Taco Mode trips as compared to their normal rides. Food on Demand reports that drivers make just 9 to 10 cents per minute when stopped, a small fraction of the 85 cents per mile rate they earn while in transit. This adds serious financial injury to the insult of sour cream, hot sauce, and taco crumbs all over the passenger compartment, particularly when you consider the additional time it will take to clean it–more time that participating drivers will not be giving rides.

Given the experiences of drivers during the trial run, one wonders why any driver would opt-in to providing this service. Nonetheless, Business Insider reports that Lyft intends to expand the Taco Mode service nationwide next year, though driver participation remains voluntary. It remains to be seen just how available Taco Mode rides will actually be if drivers wisely choose not to participate.