Outsidelands Travel Tips

OutsideLandsSince I’ve got a broken ankle I can’t do too much so I was checking out the prices last night after OutsideLands finished for taking a ride with the various TNC’s as an alternative to cab rides or muni. It was pretty shocking.

I drive for Sidecar and was able to drive last year and it was pretty busy. Most of the rides were short because people would park a few blocks away and walk to the concert. Most of my trips were for around $8-$10. This year it was different. A lot different.

I started checking prices around 9:30pm on Uber and Sidecar [Lyft doesn’t give estimates, but I had heard they were charging 25% Prime Time Tips on top of their ride fee]. Here’s what I found. I live a little over a mile from OutsideLands and was curious what a ride would cost me to get home from there:

Uber: $40 [estimate]

Sidecar: $6 [real price]


Yes, Uber has what is known as surge pricing. If Uber thinks there is going to be a high demand they will charge more to get more drivers out there. It’s actually the opposite of the supply and demand idea. When a lot of people want a product the price goes down to move more product. Uber is a service though, so when demand goes up so does the price. The biggest problem is that Uber isn’t the only game in town as much as they’d like to think.

Sidecar has a policy where driver’s can set their own prices, but new drivers are set up so that their first 25 rides will be forced to the minimum of $5 and base multiplier of 1.0. This doesn’t mean all rides will be $5, but they will be cheaper. This pricing makes regular Sidecar drivers stay competitive with the new drivers and not seriously overcharging for the service. It’s kind of an odd way of doing business, but it seems to work out better so far for the riders.

Another odd thing was that if you tried to get an Uber car at 9:30 on the Richmond side of Golden Gate Park it was surging at 5.0x, but if you walked a little bit to the Sunset side to get an Uber car it was at 2.0x. That’s over half the price. Here’s where it gets a little weird. Richmond side Uber to Russian Hill [a friend of mine asked me this question] $75. Sunset side Uber to Russian Hill $50. Yes, you could save $25 and take a longer ride just by walking the equivalent of a couple of blocks.

My advice to people looking for an alternative to the overburdened Muni to get too and from OutsideLands is that if you’re going to take Uber go to the Sunset [south] side of Golden Gate Park to request a ride, or just look for Sidecar which will save you the most money. It won’t guarantee you a $6, but it will definitely be a lot cheaper than Uber or Lyft.


Goodbye to Vivian Brown

f42b35_a506bfd5b11c0ff060fcd3e320511a5e.jpg_1024There we have it, another San Francisco icon is gone. Well half gone in this sense, but Vivian Brown of the Brown sisters has died. Vivian and Marian were identical twins who dressed a like in a manner that would sometimes just make you scratch your head. I used to see them around San Francisco quite a bit before I found out they were the “Brown Sisters” and one day I ran into them and actually talked to them.

I had a girlfriend who was a little weird like me. We both had a fondness for the pipe organ and Grace Cathedral has the best one around. They used to give [it’s been so long they probably still do, but my wife isn’t into the pipe organ as much as I am]. My girlfriend at the time and I used to go to the afternoon or evening organ recitals and we’d usually go a bit early and maybe have a drink at the Fairmont [never went to the Tonga Room though and for some one born and raised here that’s kind of odd].

As we were walking around one day we saw the Brown Sisters walking into Uncle Vito’s which was one of their regular hangouts. My girlfriend and I being the metal heads we were [and we were kind of extreme at the time] stopped and talked to them right before they went in. There was a bit of a chill in the air and they invited us to come in and have a slice of pizza with them. So there you had the Brown Sisters and a couple of metal heads sitting together talking in the front window of Uncle Vito’s. I wish I could find the picture, but that was so many years ago I’d have too many boxes to go through to find it.

We you talked to them you quickly got passed the leopard print cowboy hats that you’d usually see on older hispanic women out on the town in the Mission [usually at La Rondalla before it closed] on a Saturday night. They were were really funny and surprised that we were going to an opera recital at a large cathedral dressed all in black leather. We both gave a cocked eye and an ahem without having to point at them who the two of them wouldn’t just dress alike they’d dress alike in some of the most bizarre clothes that kind of made you remember them like they were walking down the street on fire.

They were in many TV shows, movies and were also asked to be on a few talk shows. Just a two second shot of them in a commercial and you knew who they were. I’m kind of sad that Vivian is gone because it’s been awhile since I’ve been downtown and run into them. I think I might just have to make a trip to Uncle Vito’s and see if Marian will still hang out there just to wish her well and offer my condolences.