7 min read

    7 min read

    Today, I’m featuring a guest post from one of RSG’s top blog commenters.  Aaron P as I like to call him, drives for Lyft and Sidecar (his car is too old for Uber) and has been a big RSG supporter from the get-go.  I invited him on to guest post about his experiences driving for Lyft and Sidecar and he has provided an awesome table below that is a great starting point for drivers of all experience levels.  

    If you’d like to guest post on RSG, please send me an e-mail with a topic or two in mind and we’ll take it from there.  I’m especially looking to start posting city-specific driving strategies and tips if you’ve got any.

    New Lyft Driver - Earn 1500:week

    As a driver or a rider, it’s always a lot of work figuring out the difference between all the rideshare companies.  Which features are available, which one is the best overall, etc.  I see people ask these questions all the time.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if all the answers could all be in one place though, and the misinformation would just go away? Not today, I am afraid. Since there are a multitude of available TNC’s, a constant influx of drivers, complex regulations to deal with and confusing new features added weekly that cloud the TNC landscape, information is quickly out-of-date and often misleading.

    The truth is, things will probably be like this for a while.  The only hope is to piece together information from multiple sources, or hope that someone takes a moment to settle the disinformation. Then, updates the information … constantly.

    No Help From The TNC’s

    When I first started driving for Lyft, I felt the correct information would flow directly and easily from the respective company, or at least from a driver mentor, or the “passionate driver community” that I was told existed with vigor. Nope.

    I started with a mentor ride: an experienced driver, but was only given a few minutes to ask anything I wanted. Under the pressure, I couldn’t think of anything specific, so I just asked, “I pick up and drop off people, and the app takes care of the rest?” The mentor replied, hesitantly, “Yes. The other answers will come later, after you complete … a few rides.”

    Since Then

    Since that first ride, and the many rides in between, the questions are still coming, and previous answers are now either wrong, or forgotten. Why couldn’t this be simpler? Well, taxis are a much older industry, and they haven’t seemed to figure this out either so there’s that.

    Today, rideshare companies are young, private companies, fighting bureaucracy, each other and drivers seem to be teetering on revolt. Misinformation is rampant, and changing every day.

    The Age of the Consumer

    Still, this is the age of the consumer!  The passengers and app developers appear for now to be the respective victors in this new-industry disruptive warfare. They hold the key to the eventual success of the winning company. With fickle consumerism breeding selfish demanders on their ride choice, TNC product managers trying to beat the market with new features and old guard regulators catching up.  The current future of rideshare will be in constant flux for at least the immediate future.

    A Guide To Pass The Time

    However, why not create a benchmark and reference guide to pass the time? Sure, it will be nearly out-of-date at press time, but maybe historians will look back at this snapshot, in fond memory to the industry, at its infancy, that spawned the new age of transportation.

    Request away, my fellow short-distance travelers. Accept the requests, my confused drivers! May you both find your final destination, in record time, with minimal interference.

    In the table below, I have attempted to create a comprehensive, albeit not deemed complete, for most areas of the rideshare transaction, comparing Lyft and Sidecar. The accompanying links, where available, refer to any public information found on the subject.

    Lyft Sidecar
    The Company
    Slogan “Your Friend with a Car.” Link “Driven by everyday people.” (Tag: “Ride On.”) Link
    Trade Dress Printed Lyft emblem, placed on passenger-side corner of your dashboard. (Temporary emblem can be printed; official decal comes in Welcome Kit) Link MoX. Stretchable fabric over side-view mirrors. Available to driver after vehicle inspection. (New trade dress otw) Link
    Signing Up as a Driver
    Signup Process Signup via website. Mentor ride request made from app with an experienced driver. Mentor uploads vehicle/driver images through app. Some markets require mechanic inspection. Link Driver applicant uploads screenshots of insurance, license and car exterior into app. Mechanic inspection required. Link
    Minimum Car Requirements Not disclosed. Varies by market. Generally: 2003+, 5 seatbelts (incl driver), 4-door. Link Not disclosed. Generally: 2000+, 2 or 4 doors. None
    Cost (to the passenger)
    Fare Calculator Varies by market. Link Varies by market. Link
    Airport Fee Yes. Not disclosed. (SFO: $3.85 charged to pax). None Yes. Not disclosed. (SFO: $3.85 charged to pax). None
    Trust & Safety Fee Varies by market. (Current range is $0-$1.50) Link Yes. $1, charged to pax. Link
    Fare Selection (for the Driver)
    Fare Minimum Varies. (Current range is $3-$8, by market). Link Set by Driver. ($0-$12) Link
    Base Fare Multiplier Decided by app. Usually by demand. (0-200%) Link Set by Driver. (0x-3.1x). Indicator displays, “current community average is: x.x%”. Link
    Driver Payment Adjustments
    Tips 100% to driver. Link 100% to driver Link
    Service Fee to Company 20% of total fare. (Note: Power Driver bonus phased out as 2/1/15). Link 20% of total fare. Link
    Payment Request Process
    Automatic Paycheck Yes. Initiated Tuesday. Pay for all rides in previous week (ends Monday at 5am) Link No. Manual request through app. Funds available 4 business days after ride completion. Link
    Reimbursement for pax payment processing errors. No policy stated. All ride payments process immediately. None Incomplete payments from passenger (eg: credit card declined) process the 1st business day after 14 days) Link
    Paycheck Transaction Fee No. (Not publically stated). Link Yes, .50c per request, per category. Categories: 1: full-price fares; 2: Cancellation, Shared Ride subsidy, referrals, reimbursement. Link
    Road Tolls Reimbursement Yes. Request via support site, include receipt as attachment. Some markets automatically charge pax. Link No. Not publicly disclosed. None
    Driver App Features
    New Driver Price/Feature Lockout No. All features available to new drivers. None Yes. Driver must complete 25 rides before increasing pricing and minimum. Not publicly disclosed. None
    Pickup area filter No. Driver chosen by “closest distance to pax, by region.” Link Yes, radius set by driver. Link
    Dropoff area filter. No. Driver can set “directional filter” (Lyft Line requests only). Link Yes, radius set by driver. Link
    Additional passenger request when driver has pax. No. App only accepts ride request when available in driver mode (ie: Not with pax or en route to accepted request). None Yes. “Back-to-back” option can be enabled in driver app; prompts driver if another passenger is requesting near dropoff area. Link
    Heat Map Yes. Areas of high demand, or low amount of drivers. Link Yes. (In beta; iOS only) Show areas of highdemand and current multiplier of booked rides. Link
    Drivers shown in surrounding area No. (Driver can temporarily change to passenger mode to view nearby drivers) None Yes. Shows other drivers within 1-mile radius. Link
    Driver shown pax destination prior to accepting request. No. Link Yes. Link
    Driver shown pax destination after accepting request. Yes. Lyft Line only. (Driver can see current route of all potential pax in app. Updates dynamically until first pickup). Link Yes. Link
    Passenger Features
    Favorite driver No. None Yes. Favorited driver, if nearby, would appear on top of available driver list. Link
    Rideshare automatically adds another passenger to requested route Yes. Lyft Line: All rides with similar routes can be shared automatically. Available in select markets. (Note: Driver can permanently opt-out from accepting Line requests) Link No. Shared Ride: Passenger could be prompted for discount to share any ride, if common route. Available in select markets. Link
    Ability to change destination Yes. Regular Lyft request (excludes Lyft Line). Link Yes. Driver is prompted with “did you detour?” upon ride completion (excludes Shared Ride). Link
    Driver suspension for cause Rating falls below 4.6 (scale of 1-5). Link Safety issues, multiple bad ratings and/or <80% acceptance rating. Link
    Insurance Yes. Varies by driver status. (Pax in car: $2500 deductible) Link Yes. Varies by market. $500 deductible. Link
    Driver community Regional Facebook Page. (by invite) Link The “Garage” Kb. (by invite) Link

    Notes about author: Aaron Pewtherer has been a driver for Lyft since August 2014 (308 rides) and a Lyft mentor since October. Additionally, he has been a driver on Sidecar since December 2014 (34 rides). Since the beginning, he has been an active on rideshare blogs and driver community sites asking questions, providing advice and seeking answers to rideshare driver effectiveness. He currently drives a 2000 Mazda, which does not meet the minimum vehicle requirements for Uber.

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    Drivers, how do you think my table stacks up and did you get any useful information out of it?

    Harry Campbell

    Harry Campbell

    I'm Harry, the owner and founder of The Rideshare Guy Blog and Podcast. I used to be a full-time engineer but now I'm a rideshare blogger! I write about my experience driving for Uber, Lyft, and other services and my goal is to help drivers earn more money by working smarter, not harder.

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