Lyft Launches A Black Car Service Called Lux

Harry here. Lyft made some big news last week with their new luxury black car option called “Lux.” Is this going to be an Uber-killer? Probably not, but it’s a good opportunity for Lyft to get in on Uber’s lucrative game. Today, senior RSG contributor Christian Perea breaks down what Lyft Lux is, if it affects you, and what it means for Lyft and Uber in the future.

Lyft recently announced they’ll be launching a new luxury black car option called Lyft Lux and Lux SUV. Lyft plans to initially launch this option in 5 markets before rolling it out to an additional 15 markets. Pay for Lyft Lux will be similar to Uber Black and SUV, however Lyft will assess a 25% commission on these rides at first (except for NYC) while the service is getting launched.

You don’t need a TCP or the associated commercial insurance to drive for Lyft Lux / Lux SUV. If you have the car, drive in the right place, and have a rating of 4.7 or higher, you are now a Lyft Lux driver.

Lyft is launching a new service called Lyft Lux, designed to compete with Uber Black. Here's where Lyft Lux is launching and what the rates are for drivers-

This launch marks Lyft’s third foray into the luxury and high-end rideshare segment that is presently dominated by Uber Black. Previously, Lyft launched Lyft Plus and Lyft Premier to expand the services they offer.

Lyft first launched Plus as a premium service in 2014 featuring “White Knight” custom SUV’s in San Francisco, shifting the service to focus on 6 seat rides. Then in 2016, Lyft launched “Premier” as a luxury option that included cars like BMW 3-series and Mercedes C-Class sedans.

How Much Does Lyft Lux Pay?

Lyft Lux and Lux SUV rates appear to closely match the rates for Uber Black and Black SUV. The rates vary by market but are typically between 3 to 5 times the rates for Lyft Classic. Here is the pay for Lux and Lux SUV in present markets:

Lyft Lux Pay Rates By City

City Base Time Distance Minimum
San Francisco $8.00 $0.65 $3.75 $15.00
New York $7.00 $0.65 $3.75 $15.00
Chicago $7.00 $0.40 $3.50 $15.00
San Jose $8.00 $0.65 $3.75 $15.00
Los Angeles $8.00 $0.45 $3.55 $15.00

Lyft Lux SUV Pay Rates By City

City Base Time  Distance Minimum
San Francisco  $15.00 $0.90 $3.75 $25.00
New York $ 14.00 $0.80 $4.50 $25.00
Chicago $ 14.00 $0.55 $4.05 $25.00
San Jose $ 15.00 $ 0.90 $ 3.75 $ 25.00
Los Angeles $ 15.00 $0.55 $4.25 $25.00

Right now, Lux is operational in the Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, San Jose, and San Francisco markets. Lyft plans to roll it out to additional markets in the near future, so look out for an email announcing that it has showed up in your city.

Which Cars Qualify for Lyft Lux and Lux SUV?

Lyft Lux and Lux SUV vehicles must have a black exterior and be 2011 or newer. Lyft will also allow the 2017 Hyundai Genesis and Lincoln Continental to operate on the Lux platform as well. You can find the full list of accepted vehicles below

Approved Lux and Lux SUV vehicles by Lyft: Lyft Lux Vehicles

It’s also worth noting that in order to qualify for Lyft Lux/SUV, the driver will have to maintain a rating of 4.7 or higher.

What is it like to Drive for Lyft Lux/Lux SUV?

Lyft will allow Lux and Lux SUV drivers to only accept premium requests. However, requests may be sparse compared to accepting Lyft Classic/Line requests because the premium market isn’t built out as thoroughly as Lyft’s competitors yet.

That being said, if you drive for multiple platforms, then it makes sense to only accept premium requests on Uber and Lyft because anything extra that you get through Lyft Lux/SUV on top of your other requests is going to pay the same while taking a lower commission.

Related: Mystro: An Awesome (Free!) App for Uber and Lyft Drivers

If you plan to only provide premium rides, then it is worth keeping your car clean, dressing decently, and generally providing good customer service. That may include getting out of the vehicle to open the doors for passengers and load their luggage. Generally, pretending to be a limo driver.

Should You Buy A Car To Do Lyft Lux and Lux SUV?

I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to buy a $50,000 luxury black car just to qualify for Lyft Lux and Lux SUV just yet. If Lyft Premier is any indicator of how busy Lux will be, then you can expect rides for this service to be sparse in the beginning. Lyft is working to draw up demand for this service by partnering with business clients and promoting the service through celebrities, so it may get busier as they develop those passenger marketing channels.

However, if you already drive Uber Black/SUV or own a car that qualifies, then you should probably signup for this platform. Lux will allow you to gain some additional rides on top of what you are already giving through other services. Since there is no TCP or commercial insurance requirement, it obviously makes sense to accept these calls if you have an eligible car.

Why Is Lyft Launching a Black Car Service?

Many will point out that it is going to be difficult for Lyft to break into Uber Black territory. I don’t think Lyft expects to dominate this space so much as they wish to offer the option for black car vehicles. There are already a lot of black cars on the road operating for Uber or private services. So it makes sense for these services to signup for Lyft and provide these rides, because they often have a lot of downtime between rides.

Since there is no TCP or other regulatory requirement to be part of Lyft Lux, Lyft may end up having a higher supply of premium vehicles like this available at any given time. That means that wait times will be lower for executives and the service will be slightly more reliable in the long term when compared to Uber Black. This population/segment of riders finds reliability and time to be very important. So slowly, I expect it to become busier.

Furthermore, a lot of drivers already prefer driving for Lyft over Uber because they have an in-app tipping option. Premium services like this tend to draw more frequent, and higher amounts, of tips. So I think there is decent potential for this to become a favored premium service amongst drivers. Especially while Lyft is charging a lower commission for Lux and Lux SUV rides when compared to Uber.

If you already have a car that qualifies for Lux or Lux SUV, have a 4.7 rating and above, and happen to drive in a city that offers this option, then this is good news for you.

If you’d like to sign up to drive with Lyft, please consider using our affiliate link here.

Do any of you have a car that qualifies for Lyft Lux? Do you think that Lyft will finally crack the premium market for rides? Sound off below!

-Christian @ RSG