Lyft… they used to be known for treating their driver partners well, and with respect. Go back to even just a few months ago, and talk to any driver that drove for both Uber and Lyft and ask them which platform they preferred, and most would have said Lyft. Why? Because Lyft treated their drivers far better. Bonuses if you did so many rides per week, that were not overly difficult to achieve, and were percentage based (earn X% bonus for doing X amount of rides), were among just a few of the things that made Lyft great. Not to mention, tipping from day one, and a genuine concern for driver safety. I should know. I used to drive for both Uber and Lyft on my free time.
Any more however, and it seems like Lyft and Uber have switched places. Ever since Travis Kalanick stepped down as Uber CEO, Uber has been working to greatly improve their relationship with their drivers. Adding tipping, more support options, weekly surveys on driver satisfaction to figure out what they need to change, and a more responsive support team. All of these things add up to an improving Uber. Sure, Kalanick still has some power with Uber, and recently used it in a underhanded way to appoint some board members, but for the most part, it seems like he is letting the Uber board have the freedom they need to fix the company.
Lyft on the other hand has reduced bonuses, made them flat amounts instead of a percentage of that weeks earnings, lowered their quality of support (even with recently launching a phone support option), and even ignoring drivers. I have experienced this first hand on more than one occasion recently. Lyft support seems only capable of responding to inquiries with canned responses in recent months. Copy-paste responses are the worst thing to happen to customer service since Comcast. 90% of the time it seems like Lyft’s support personnel don’t even read/listen to your entire issue before instantly deciding which response to copy-paste from their internal KB.
This does not even take into account that Lyft has over hired to the extreme (in Utah at least) resulting in ride requests being far and few between. One night I got one single ride request in a 3 1/2 hour period, on a bar night, in a prime pricing zone, with a concert going on, and that one request was only worth $4.00.
Personally, I don’t need to drive for Uber or Lyft. I have a great day job that I love. I did it because I was bored and needed something to do. But what Lyft has been doing has started to hurt drivers on multiple fronts. Smaller, harder to obtain bonuses, combined with overhiring, which equals less ride requests for each driver, have resulted in a platform (again, in Utah at least), that will actually put many drivers in the red on earnings. If your drivers are not even making enough to cover their expenses of driving for you, you have an issue. I have, in recent weeks, stopped driving for both Uber and Lyft, but it still concerns me, as it means many of the other drivers I know, who rely on it as a significant portion of their income, now have issues paying bills. Lyft needs to get their act together, and quick, before they really ruin the lives of the people who make their business work. Without drivers, their would be no Lyft.
Image at top courtesy of Daniel X. O’Nell. CC BY 2.0