Today Lyft has announced a few upgrades to their driver app.
Upgrades are always much appreciated. However, being a driver who has been around for 7 years and completed over 29,500 rides, the upgrades we experience rarely benefit the driver as much as they benefit Uber or Lyft.
In this article, I will share the details of the upgrades with you, and whether I feel they actually benefit drivers who are out there on the road trying to make a buck.
Lyft’s Latest App Upgrades
Ever since Uber and Lyft started changing up their pay structure, and began paying me less even when I was just starting out, I have become skeptical of anything they do to supposedly benefit drivers.
I will be fair, but I will look at these upgrades carefully. Are the upgrades good for drivers, or are we simply putting lipstick on a pig? Let’s jump in.
1. 10%–14% Higher Upfront Pay
According to Lyft, upfront pay on a per-ride basis is now up 10% versus earlier this year for short rides and up 14% for long rides.
Normally this would be great news, however, the devil is in the details. When I dig deeper for more information, here is what I found:
“Average earnings per ride across US & Canada, comparing Jan 2023 vs May 1 – May 21, 2023, including bonuses and tips.”
Clearly, this is misleading. How can Lyft claim the rides are paying more and include driver’s tips in the equation? Lyft has nothing to do with how much drivers earn in tips.
And why are bonuses included? I would like to know how much the per-ride revenue has increased or decreased when tips and bonuses are not included.
Then, I would get very excited about a 10% increase. However, with this all-encompassing definition, I can’t get excited.
Based on the definition, this upgrade was useless to me this past weekend, as Lyft did not offer me any substantial bonuses. Take a look:
As you can see, there is no ride challenge bonus this weekend. Only one streak bonus all weekend, and it is at 9:00 PM, a time I never drive. Therefore, this past weekend, I drove exclusively for Uber, completing 50 rides and earning an extra $120 in bonuses.
Even if Lyft could prove that I was earning 10% more per ride, it doesn’t matter when they only occasionally offer bonuses based on an algorithm. I find this lack of consistency on Lyft’s part very frustrating.
2. “Stay Within Area” Location Filter
This is a great feature! It is available in my market, and I have previously written about using the location filter in conjunction with the Streak bonus to help maximize your earnings.
In case you missed it, you can now you can drop a pin as the center point of a circle of activity. You can set the circle’s radius as tight as 5 miles to as big as 30 miles.
Or you could use this tool to end your shift close to home. Drop the pin on your home, set the radius, and then you can drive for three hours and never get too far from home.
I have done this a few times and picked up many short rides, which can contribute to a bonus. This is a winning feature.
3. Weekday & Weekend Ride Challenge Bonuses
A ride challenge bonus requires a certain number of rides to be completed within a specific period of time.
Instead of these bonuses encompassing an entire week, you can select a bonus for Monday to Thursday and another from Friday to Sunday. Since I drive exclusively on the weekend, this appeals to me.
However, the bonuses are worthless if they aren’t offered to drivers. I would show you a screenshot of a ride challenge bonus, but I have nothing on my app to show!
4. Improved Scheduled Rides Selection Process
I have never used Lyft’s scheduled rides.
Uber occasionally offers me a reserved ride if it is in my area through a notification. Uber reserved rides are always airport runs and pay at least $30 (or roughly $60 an hour).
As I look at Lyft’s scheduled rides, the payouts are small relative to Uber. This begs the question, why spend time searching for scheduled rides when you can turn your Lyft app on, get a ride close by, and get to work?
- From the home screen, slide up the lower menu as seen in the first screenshot.
- Then click on “See Full Schedule” as shown in the second screenshot.
- Then click on “Scheduled Rides” as shown in the third screenshot.
Once you have completed those steps, a map with many rides available will populate.
You can look at the Map View, as shown in the first screenshot below, or click the icon in the upper right-hand corner to show List View as shown in the second screenshot below.
If you find a ride you like, you can click on it and then click the Reserve button as shown in the third screenshot below.
In my search, I found no airport runs in my area this week. The highest revenue ride I found was $13, which I don’t value enough to reserve.
Remember, when you reserve, you must add at least 15 minutes to your arrival time.
- 15 minutes added to arrival time
- 14 minutes for the ride
For a total of 29 minutes, the payout would only be $10, or $20 per hour. This does not meet my criteria of $30 an hour.
I prefer Uber’s policy of sending out notifications for long reserved rides rather than having to search for scheduled rides with Lyft.
5. Upgraded Airport Features
Here is what Lyft is offering for those drivers who like to get rides from the airport:
“Our new features empower drivers to make the most of airport trips–in both directions–just in time for peak summer travel season. For drivers considering driving to the airport or already headed there for a drop-off, the Lyft app now offers more detail about real-time conditions. Drivers can view anticipated airport wait times, the number of drivers ahead in the airport queue, plus incoming flight information–all to help make it easier to decide if and when to drive to the airport or get in the queue. A new benefit only available on the Lyft platform, drivers in the airport queue can now use their favorite location filters – such as stay within area, arrive on time, and head to destination – to help ensure they get an airport ride that works for their schedule… Finally, we have unlocked additional upgrades and perks for top Platinum drivers. Our new pilot program enables eligible drivers to jump ahead in the airport queue every time, and to use destination filters at the airport that do not count toward the daily limit.”
I never wait at the airport for a ride. If someone needs a ride when I am there, I will get a ping and take it.
However, instead of waiting in a parking lot, I would rather leave the airport and accept a ride within a few minutes. This has always been my policy to maximize my revenue.
The new feature that will occasionally benefit me is my location filter will now be useful even within the airport. Before, I was notified that my destination filter would resume once I left the airport. Now, I could get an airport ride toward my final destination. This is good to have.
6. Guidance on Wait Times
Lyft is offering drivers information to help determine the best areas to drive.
“Additional features within the driver app offer greater transparency that help turn insights into earnings. The Lyft driver app now offers guidance on the busiest areas in real time by showing current wait times on the driver map. Drivers can simply tap the map to view how quickly nearby drivers were matched with a ride in the last hour, and then tap to navigate to that area.”
Here is how it works, I look at this information to determine if I should pull over, wait, or drive to another area:
7. Quicker Access To Earnings Details
Here is what Lyft is offering:
“We have also made it easier to see earnings details during active driving time. Previously, drivers were unable to track their earnings and bonus progress for long stretches of time if giving back-to-back queued rides. Now, drivers can easily track their progress by swiping up in the app when stopped.”
Great. This will be useful as I am often curious about how I am doing with my earnings or bonus status when accepting back-to-back rides, sometimes for hours at a time.
Kudos to Lyft for tidying things up. However, in my honest opinion, they are missing the point.
Drivers want to make more money. It is one thing to talk about higher pay. However, if Lyft does not consistently offer bonuses contributing to their 10–14% statistics, what good is the statistic?
Lyft’s stay within location filter is awesome. I only wish I had the bonuses to go after so I could put it to good use.
The airport upgrade will benefit drivers in the waiting lot, but that is not me.
Overall, I want Lyft to “show me the money,” and these recent upgrades don’t show me enough.
Be safe out there.