Why The Downfall Of Lyft Is Imminent

By September 29, 2014July 28th, 2020106 Comments


    For those who are regular readers of my site, you’ve probably noticed a recurring theme: I don’t like to talk much about fare cuts, I never complain about driving for Lyft/Uber and I never make excuses as to why I’m not earning enough.  For me, rideshare driving is something that I do for extra income, it’s not something that I depend on to make a living since I’m all about creating multiple sources of income.

    A lot of rideshare sites, forums and groups out there are pretty outspoken when it comes to how they’re being treated by Lyft and Uber.  But from the beginning, I’ve treated all TNC’s the same way that I would treat any other billion dollar corporation: I don’t trust them.  Any time you start to put faith in someone else (especially billion dollar corporations) or depend on someone else to make a living, you are no longer in control.  That might seem like an obvious statement but no matter what corporations tell you, they will always be looking out for their bottom line, not yours.

    Related Article: There’s No Loyalty In The Corporate World

    With that being said, my rideshare journey over these past 6 months has still been pretty amazing.  I’ve made more money than I ever could have imagined, I’ve helped countless drivers learn about efficient rideshare techniques and I’m also part of a burgeoning sharing economy.

    Lyft Over Uber Any Day of The Week

    From the beginning, I’ve always seen Uber as a giant faceless corporation and I don’t think they mind that reputation.  But Lyft has always had a soft spot in my heart, they are the company that’s supposed to be built on ‘community’ and mutual respect.  Even knowing what I know about corporations, I’ve always told people that I prefer Lyft: their approach to rideshare and the sharing economy in general is something that I believe in.

    But over the past couple months, I’ve found it harder and harder to support them.  Everything that they supposedly stand for has gone out the window.  We know what Uber is about but I thought Lyft was something different: it’s turning out that they’re just the same as the rest of them.  Even though I’ve always made more money driving for Uber, I stuck with Lyft because I really believed in what they were doing as a company.  Now I’m not so sure.

    Competing On Price, Not Community

    Over the past few months, we’ve seen an epic price battle between Lyft and Uber with fares almost 40-50% lower than they were less than half a year ago!  There is still plenty of opportunity abound but the days of flipping into driver mode and pulling in $20-$30/hr are over.  In today’s saturated driver market, you have to be more efficient, more knowledgeable and more calculating in the hours that you do drive if you want to make a decent income.

    I still believe that being a rideshare driver is a great job but I’m worried about the future of Lyft.  Lyft tells drivers that they are lowering fares to increase ridership but as readers of this site, you’re not that dumb!  We all know that these lower prices are clearly an effort to compete with Uber.  But that is a horrible strategy if you ask me since Lyft is effectively pricing themselves out of the market.  Less competition is bad for drivers and passengers so if Lyft disappears don’t expect things to get any better with Uber as the top dog.

    What Is Lyft’s Strength?

    Uber is currently valued at $18 billion dollars while Lyft is ‘only’ valued at $1 billion.  Both companies have a lot of money but clearly Uber is here to stay.  $18 billion dollar companies don’t just go away over night and at this point, there’s really nothing that can stop them.  (I find stories like this hilarious since there’s no real threat to rideshare at this point, it’s just too big.  Uber can just pay off government officials like every other industry does.)

    Lyft meanwhile, is a pretty sizable company but they’re going up against someone that has 20x the cash and resources.  I don’t think it takes a genius to realize that you don’t want to compete on price with a company that can outspend you by 20X.

    Sometimes I feel like Lyft is trying to run itself into the ground because what they’re doing is just plain stupid.  One of the advantages that Lyft has over Uber is its sense of community but with each passing day, more and more drivers are giving up the loyalty that they once showed.  I’ve reached out to Lyft before about hiring me as a consultant and I’ll do it again because they really need some help 🙂

    Burn ‘Stache Burn

    I’ve actually seen the anti-Lyft tide developing first hand over the past few months in the Facebook lounges.  Posts of excitement and exuberance for a once shining company have been replaced with hatred and outright contempt.  I just don’t see how a company can make it in the long run when more and more drivers are hating the company that they work for.

    How many successful companies do you know where the employees hate what they do?  Especially when the entire industry is based upon providing a great customer experience.  It’s not like with Walmart where you’re just paying for the goods and then you check out.  When I hop into a Lyft, I actually enjoy talking to the driver and having a conversation with them, the price of the ride is just a by-product.

    Lyft Moustache Burn

    Image Courtesy of Gabriel Via Facebook

    Here’s how bad things have gotten.  This weekend I was invited to attend a ‘stache burning: a pretty sizable group of drivers have decided that they’ve had enough with Lyft and they are going to burn their ‘staches as part of a beach bonfire.  Now obviously this is an extremely outspoken group of drivers but how can a company like Lyft not recognize this and say, “Wow, things are bad, maybe we should take a look at this.”

    This worries me the most because it shows that the people at the top don’t know what they’re doing.  Uber has succeeded in keeping drivers somewhat happy but Lyft’s management is clearly in over their heads.  Bad management is the downfall of all great companies.

    The Downfall Is Imminent

    If the past six months have taught me anything, it’s that rideshare is here to stay.  We’ve seen some pretty wild price fluctuations (with prices mainly going down) but you have to remember that rideshare is still in its infancy.  I guarantee that the price of a ride today will not be the same one year from now.

    I actually have no idea where the price of a ride will be but if I had to guess I would guess that it will be higher.  Eventually things are going to settle down: airports will get their money, insurance companies will agree to terms with TNC’s and prices will reach an equilibrium.

    We’re nowhere near that point right now but it’s fun to go along for the ride.  I am 100% sure that Uber will be around 1, 5 and probably even 10 years from now but I’m not so sure about Lyft.  Lyft is playing catch-up and it appears that they are doing a pretty shitty job.

    Related Article: Do You Make More Money Driving For Lyft or Uber?

    I’ve always enjoyed driving for Lyft more than Uber but at this point, Uber and Lyft are the same company to me and I’m going to driver for whichever company gives me the better chance for success.  Right now, I make more money and get more requests with Uber so that’s who I’m going to drive for.  There’s a reason why the most popular article on my site is my comparison of how much you make driving for Uber and Lyft in cities across the US: when all else is equal, people care most about how much money they’re making.

    Remember, at the end of the day you are all micro-entrepreneurs now as rideshare drivers.  This is your business and you should treat it accordingly by doing what’s best for your business.  I think every Lyft driver should drive for Uber and vice versa, there’s really no reason not to diversify your income.  With corporations like Uber and Lyft I will always hope for the best, but expect the worst.

    Uber recently extended their $500 new driver promotion so if you’re a Lyft driver who’s interested in signing up for Uber you can get $500 (after 20 rides) if you’ve done 5 trips with Lyft between March and August.  I already got my $500 and it was probably the easiest money I’ve made.  I’m pretty sure this promotion won’t be around once Lyft goes out of business so you might as well get your money while you can!

    If you’d like to sign up for Uber, you can do so here.

    Drivers, what do you think about the future of Lyft and the direction the company is headed?  By this point it should be 100% clear that Uber is going to be around for the long run but I’m not so sure about Lyft.  Am I crazy?

    -The Rideshare Guy

    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.