As drivers, we’re in a great position to know exactly how to improve certain aspects of the Uber and Lyft apps. But which improvements would have the biggest impact on drivers? Today, RSG contributor Jay Cradeur shares his veteran’s opinion on which Lyft app improvements would make the biggest difference to drivers.
As drivers, we put in long hours behind the wheel to make a buck. We talk to people. We listen to their stories. We navigate through traffic, negotiate one-way streets and avoid construction sites. We gently deliver our passengers from their home to their office or to the airport. During all this time in the car, we are using several apps, all of which contribute to our ability to do the job well.
I do most of my driving for Lyft, as Lyft is the busier of the rideshare companies available in San Francisco. During the past month, I have been frustrated by some of the shortcomings of Lyft’s app.
Overall, I like the app. Truly, it is amazing how the app can find the closest passengers, sort them for me, and provide turn-by-turn directions. However, I feel there are 5 specific improvements Lyft could make which would propel their app to the top of the heap. Here we go.
Lyft Line Improvement: Let us cancel individual passengers
Just yesterday, I picked up a young couple and they needed a ride from downtown San Francisco to the East Bay. The trip length is 25 miles and the drive is 35 minutes with light traffic. As I was approaching the Bay Bridge onramp, I got a ping to pick up another passenger in San Francisco.
“Oh jeez!” I thought, “I have to get off this on-ramp and head back downtown.” I was barely able to make a right hand turn before I got on the bridge, and then drove 10 minutes back in the opposite direction to pick up a single female passenger. Her trip was a short 1-mile jaunt across town, but with traffic it took another 10 minutes. I dropped her off and then drove toward the bridge and got back on track. If I could cancel a single passenger in a Lyft Line, I would have cancelled her, because a 20-minute delay seems extreme for a Lyft Line.
Unlike Uber, Lyft does not allow a driver to cancel an individual passenger in a Lyft Line. On countless instances, this has been a problem. For another real life example, one time I had a couple that needed a ride to the airport. They had 4 pieces of luggage, which filled my trunk, as well as the front seat. Then I got another ping on my way to the airport, which I could not accommodate. There was no room.
My only option was to call the passenger and ask him to cancel. He said: “No! You cancel. Lyft will charge me!” I told him I could not so please cancel and then order another car. He was a very upset passenger.
Lyft, I am asking you, why not allow us to cancel individuals in a Lyft line? I cannot think of one good reason for this policy. Uber allows it and there does not seem to be any problem with individual cancellations. As a driver, updating the policy and the app would allow me to be more responsive to my passengers and provide a better service.
Toggle Bar: Please Bring It Back
What happened to it? It was there, and then after one of Lyft’s updates, it was gone. Here is a screenshot of Waze, and you can see how Uber uses the entire top portion of the screen to provide a blue toggle bar.
This allows me to go to Waze, and then back to Uber seamlessly. Or, if I am running both Uber and Lyft, I can easily get back to Uber. In order to return to Lyft, I have to double click the home button, and then scroll to Lyft, and then tap to select Lyft.
Before this update, I was able to easily bounce back and forth between Uber, Lyft and Waze. Now, it is more difficult. When I am driving a busy street, with passengers talking to me, and I am working both a steering wheel and my phone, this little change can make a big difference. Bring back the toggle bar!
Prime Time Display: Show Me The Surge!
Here again, Uber delivers and Lyft does not. As a driver who is very interested in making money, I value the ability to know how high of a surge I have.
I applaud Lyft for finally showing us the surge on the initial screen. This was a long time coming. But if I don’t catch it at the initial ping, and remember it, then I have no idea.
Things move fast, especially when surge is high, and I often don’t see the surge percentage. Can you please put the surge value somewhere else on the app so that I can access it during the ride?
Also, and even more frustrating, when I pick up a passenger who was queued up, I do not get to see the surge value at all. Please Lyft, can you make this information available throughout the ride for passengers and queued passengers?
The Trip Auto Start Feature: Remove It
Have you noticed when you arrive at someone’s pickup point, then see you are going to be heading in the other direction and make a U-Turn while waiting, the Lyft app starts the trip?
I find this very challenging, since I have now lost the 5-minute timer feature of the app. If someone is more than 5 minutes late, and I want to cancel to get the cancellation fee, I cannot. I don’t see any added value in auto-starting the trip.
On many occasions, the auto start feature kicks in for no apparent reason. Yesterday this happened twice. I was waiting for my passenger and after 2 minutes of sitting parked in front of the residence, the trip auto started. This alerts the passenger that the ride has started, which must be confusing to the passenger. “Who took my ride?”
Please remove this feature and let the driver determine when to start the trip, which should be when the passenger is approaching the car.
A Tipping Notification: Let’s Celebrate!
This is an idea I had recently. Since both Uber and Lyft make it very easy for us to see how much money we make by clicking on Earnings, why not add a “$5 Tip. Nice Job!” notification?
I would enjoy being notified every time I have earned a tip. It would make me happy. This would also benefit Lyft, for I believe a tip notification would remind drivers that we could earn tips if we do a great and thoughtful job with our passengers. It could be a constant reminder to provide excellent service. It seems like a win-win for both driver and Lyft.
Those are my ideas! Do you agree or disagree? Can you think of anything else that Lyft could do to improve the app? Sometimes I feel as if these apps are designed in a laboratory and are never tested by drivers. We are the ones who use the apps and we have an intimate, 10-hour a day relationship with them. They are literally the tools of our trade.
Lyft’s app is great. I am not complaining. However there is always room for improvement, and these ideas would certainly make my life on the road more efficient, enjoyable and profitable for all us driving the long miles out on the road.
Readers, what do you think of these app improvements and suggestions? What suggestions do you have for Lyft to improve their app?
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-Jay @ RSG