Contents:

9 min read

    9 min read

    Not everyone is as comfortable with smartphones as they’d like, so today RSG contributor Jon Knope walks through the driver and passenger side of the Lyft app.

    Passengers: Click here to download the app and ride Lyft

    New Lyft Driver - Earn 1500:week

    Drivers: Click here to sign up to drive for Lyft


    Learn How to Use Lyft

    On this blog, we frequently get questions about how to operate the various rideshare apps – and how to use Lyft is no exception. To help answer those questions, we’ve put together a couple of video tutorials to walk you through every step on how Lyft works, both as a driver and as a passenger. We’ve also extracted the most important info into an FAQ format below each video. (For a walkthrough of the Uber apps, click here!)

    How the Lyft App Works and How to use Lyft

    How to Use Lyft

    How to Use Lyft as a Driver

    Riders can skip to “How to use the Lyft App as a Passenger” below

    One nice thing about Lyft: There’s only one app, and you can use it both to give rides (as a driver) and to request them (as a passenger). You can switch back and forth by tapping your profile picture in the upper left, and then tapping the “switch mode” button at the bottom. If you’re not signed up to drive yet, you can click here to begin your Lyft driver application (and earn a sign-up bonus!). And don’t forget, new Lyft passengers also get free credit when they first sign up.

    How Does Lyft’s Prime Time Compare To Uber’s Surge Pricing?

    They’re similar; in general, however, Lyft’s Prime Time areas are smaller and less frequent. A 100% Lyft Prime Time bonus is equivalent to a 2.0x Uber surge, but for drivers, the actual pricing is a lot less transparent. The pink squares on the map don’t update very quickly, so sometimes you won’t get Prime Time fares even though you’re in a Prime Time area. Plus, the Lyft app doesn’t tell you whether a request has Prime Time pricing when it comes in. Long story short – going out of your way to try and snag a prime time fare usually isn’t worth it!

    Related Article: Do drivers earn more with Uber surge or Lyft’s Prime Time?

    What Is The Power Driver Bonus?

    This is an incentive Lyft offers to drivers who work a lot. By completing a certain number of rides per week, you can net an extra 10% or even 20% on your paycheck. The number of rides you’ll need to complete varies by location; you can view your progress towards the bonus in the app by tapping “Earnings” at the bottom. In order to be eligible for the bonus, you’ll also need a 2011 or newer vehicle, and you’ll need to maintain an acceptance rate over 90%.

    How Does Express Pay Work?

    Lyft allows you to cash out your earnings immediately once you’ve made at least $50. Swipe left on the Earnings screen to get to the Express Pay button. You’ll get to cash out the entirety of your earnings, less a $0.50 transaction fee. For most folks, the money will be deposited in your bank account within an hour or so, but the process can take longer depending on your bank. Here’s a full list of instant pay options for Uber, Doordash and more.

    How Can I Call/Text My Passenger?

    When you’ve accepted a request, you’ll see the rider’s name and picture in the lower left. Tap the menu icon above their picture. Then you can call them by tapping the phone icon. It’s worth saving this number – it will be the same for every passenger, because Lyft uses a third-party service to connect calls and mask personal info. When you call it, it will connect you with the passenger you’re currently looking for. Once you have the number saved, you can also use it to text your passenger, instead of calling them.

    Related Video: How to text your Uber or Lyft passenger

    How Does Lyft Line Work?

    Lyft Line is similar to UberPOOL: groups of up to two passengers can request a Lyft Line. Then you’ll be able to pick up up to two more passengers later on if the app is able to match other riders headed in the same direction. This matching process happens automatically – you won’t need to tap anything to accept additional riders. Regular Lyft passengers have five minutes to show up before it’s OK for you to cancel the ride by tapping No Show. Lyft Line passengers have only two minutes to show up, so as not to inconvenience the other riders – even if the ride hasn’t matched with anyone else yet. If it turns out there are more than two riders in one party, you can change the ride over to a regular Lyft by tapping the passengers icon in the lower right.

    What Is The Destination Filter?

    This allows you to input a destination where you need to be, then you’ll only receive requests from people who are also headed in that general direction. Although you’ll be less likely to receive ride requests, the benefit is that you won’t have to go out of your way to complete any rides you do receive – and you’ll get paid for miles you would have been driving regardless. You can set your destination by tapping the menu icon in the upper right.

    Related Article: How does Uber’s destination filter work?


    How to Use Lyft App as a Passenger

    If you’ve never used Lyft before, you’ll first need to download the Lyft app to your phone. Using this referral link will score you some free rides! If you’ve already done this step, you can still save some money on your first ride by entering the code “HARRY757.”

    How Do I Request A Lyft Ride?

    To request a ride, enter the address where you need to be picked up in the text box at the bottom, then tap “Set pickup.” Once you’ve set your pick up location, you can select your preferred payment method, enter your destination, and see a fare estimate. Once your request has been accepted, you’ll also see your driver’s name, vehicle info, and ETA.

    Before you request, the app will take a guess at what address you are currently located at, based on your GPS location. GPS isn’t always totally accurate, though, so always enter the actual address, if available. This will make it easier for your driver to find you.

    How Can I Request Different Types Of Lyft Rides?

    Tapping the button to the left of the address bar opens a menu where you can select different types of Lyft rides. A Lyft Line is a shared ride, similar to UberPOOL. You’ll share a car with up to two other passengers headed in the same direction as you, so only use this option if it’s just you and one other person – AND you’re not in a hurry. When taking a Lyft Line, your driver may make additional stops en route to your destination. A regular Lyft can accommodate a maximum of four passengers while a Lyft Plus is a larger car with room for six.

    In some cities like New York and San Francisco, you’ll also see an option to request a Lyft Premier – this will get you a newer, nicer ride such as an Audi or BMW, though at a higher price than a regular Lyft.

    Why Isn’t My Driver Here Yet?

    After you request a ride and it’s been accepted, you can see your driver’s name, what type of vehicle they’re in, their rating, and their ETA. Sometimes, the ETA may be longer than what was indicated on the pin initially – this can happen if the driver closest to you didn’t accept your request in time.

    You’ll also be able to track the driver’s progress towards your location. In theory, this takes place in real time; in practice, however, it updates rather slowly. Don’t be worried if it looks like your driver’s car isn’t moving on the map – it may just be slow to update. Rest assured, your driver is on the way!

    How Can I Contact My Driver?

    Tapping the “call” button in the lower left will allow you to get in touch with the driver via phone or text message. It’s worth saving the number – it will be the same for every driver in your city. Lyft uses a service to connect your call with the driver who is currently picking you up. Once you have the number saved in your phone, you can reuse it and it will always connect you with the right person.

    Texting is usually more convenient, as the driver won’t have to answer a call while en route. You can text your driver with specific instructions on where you are, gate codes to get into your apartment complex, and so forth.

    How Long Will My Driver Wait For Me?

    For a regular Lyft ride, you’ll have a five-minute grace period to get in the car before it’s OK for your driver to cancel the ride and move on. For a Lyft Line, it’s one to two minutes. If you aren’t ready in time, you’ll get stuck with a cancellation fee – so be sure to plan accordingly!

    Do I Have To Tip?

    After the ride is over, you’ll note that there is an option to enter a tip in the app. Drivers greatly appreciate tips, especially on cheaper Lyft Line rides. Although Lyft takes a cut of each fare, drivers get to keep 100% of their tips.

    If you can’t afford a tip, I would at least recommend giving your driver a full five stars. Many passengers don’t know this, but Lyft drivers (and Uber drivers, for that matter) are deactivated if their average rating falls below 4.6. Think carefully before giving a driver less than five stars – four stars and below is essentially saying that the driver should be fired! Assuming that nothing went terribly wrong with the ride, you can help your driver out immensely by giving them the full five stars.


    Any Lyft app tips and tricks we missed? Let us know below!

    -Jon @ RSG

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    Jonathan Knope

    Jonathan Knope

    Jonathan Knope is a freelance writer and rideshare driver hailing from Atlanta, GA. Over the past two years, he's worked for many of the big names in the rideshare industry, including Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and Amazon Flex. Though he's an avid tech enthusiast, Jonathan also enjoys cycling and backpacking excursions.

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