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Lyft Driver App: Your Everything-You-Need-to-Know Guide [Features & Updates]

Last updated: May 29, 2021
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Maybe you’re new to working as a rideshare driver and are about to start driving with Lyft. Or, perhaps you’ve worked as an Uber driver before but would now like to increase your earnings and start working for Lyft as well.

If you are going to be a rideshare driver for Lyft, you should download the Lyft Driver app. Lyft Driver is different from the Lyft app passengers use.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Lyft Driver, from how to download it to some of the tips and tricks you can use on the road. By the end of this article, you should be able to install the app on your Android or iOS smartphone, understand the Lyft Driver App features, and start ride-sharing.

Jump to:

What Is the Lyft Driver App?

Lyft Driver is the app the company provides to its fleet of drivers. It’s different from the standard app passengers use for Lyft rides.

Anyone can download Lyft Driver to their smartphone, but you cannot use the app until you have been approved to drive for the company. The app is available for download from the Google Play store for Android phones and from the App Store for Apple products like iPhones.

Features of the Lyft Driver App

You may wonder why Lyft created one app for riders and one for drivers. Let’s take a look at some of the features of Lyft Driver, many of which are unavailable on the standard Lyft app.

1. Show When You’re Active

The Driver App comes with a toggle switch you can use to indicate whether you’d like to be considered active. If the switch is on, you are considered active and will begin receiving ride requests.

2. Find Rides Along Your Route

The app also contains filters you can use to help you find rides in the direction you are going. One of the worst things that can happen to drivers is when a drop-off takes you far from your final destination.

For instance, if you spent the day driving in New York City and are ready to accept rides that will bring you home to New Jersey, the last ride you want to accept is a commute to Connecticut.

Fortunately, one of the new features of the Lyft Driver app is the ability to filter where you are going. You can select “Head to Destination,” which means you are only offered rides that get you closer to home. Or, you can select “Arrive on Time,” which means you are only offered rides that get you to your destination on time.

3. Scheduled Rides

Lyft passengers can schedule rides in advance, guaranteeing that a car will be there to pick them up. One way the app helps drivers is by showing you upcoming scheduled rides in your area. You can view these scheduled rides and automatically add a reminder to your calendar for the trip.

For instance, let’s say a group of friendly people take the same commute home at 4 p.m. every day. You enjoy your conversations with these individuals, and they always leave your car spotless. The trip is also across town, so you know you’ll make a good bit of money on it. You can use the app to book this scheduled pick-up, ensuring this ride for you in the future.

4. Earnings and Bonuses

Unlike the rider app, drivers can use the Lyft Driver app to see earnings and driving bonuses. Drivers can easily view:

  • Base wage earnings
  • Tips
  • Money earned from bonuses and incentives

Lyft offers various bonuses and incentives to drivers. For example, they may offer a $25 bonus if you complete 10 rides in the next eight hours. A lot of these bonuses and incentives are based on demand in a particular area, so be on the lookout for when they’re available.

Additionally, drivers can use the Lyft Driver app to download tax forms and report earnings.

How to Get Set and Start Driving

Once you download the driver app, you’ll need to submit your application to start driving. As you apply, you’ll need to provide materials such as your driver’s license and a copy of a vehicle inspection report.

After Lyft approves your application, you are ready to start driving. Toggle the acceptance switch to “On.” When someone requests a ride in your area, you’ll receive a notification asking if you’d like to accept the ride. The notification will show:

  • Passenger name
  • ETA of the pick-up
  • Type of ride requested

If you accept the ride, you can then select “Navigate” to open your preferred maps app and guide you to your destination. Lyft works with both Google Maps and Apple Maps.

As you navigate, you can also view information about the customer, including their passenger rating. You can cancel the ride at any time. You can also call the passenger if you have trouble locating the passenger at the pick-up location.

Once you have the passenger, select “Drop Off.” This will navigate you to the rider’s preferred drop-off point. When the ride is complete, you’ll need to select “Confirm Drop-Off to end the trip.” At this point, you can rate the passenger and accept your next ride.

Updates For 2021

In case you aren’t aware, the driver view of the Lyft app has undergone a few new updates recently. These updates aim to improve the driving experience, because happy drivers means happy passengers.

The updates range from pick up, drop off, accepting or declining a ride, and other parts of the driver process. Many of these issues have been major pain points for the Lyft community, so we are happy to see the latest version of the app addressing these concerns.

Since Lyft does not update their rideshare app as often as Uber, this may come as a bit of a shock to some. People prefer to drive with Lyft rather than Uber, which frequently updates their app to improve the user experience.

Still, Lyft has rolled out the red carpet with these updates, which should make diehard Uber drivers consider a switch.

Many of you may recall small updates to the Lyft app in the past, but you haven’t seen anything like this yet. Most of these changes were improvements to the functionality and ease of using the app.

The same cannot be said for the latest update. Lyft has rolled out a series of brand new features this time around. Each of these updates was based on the feedback Lyft got from the community.

Because of this, these updates are sure to make basic things easier for drivers.

To help you achieve this goal, we’ve analyzed each update and what they mean for drivers. Since the latest updates affect everyone, we would love to hear your thoughts about these, so leave a comment below!

Update 1: Streamlined Pickups and Dropoffs

According to a Lyft spokesperson, “the entire experience had been updated for convenience and streamlined to reduce the number of screen ‘taps’ required by drivers to complete a ride.”

Talk about a great way to avoid carpal tunnel! Now Lyft drivers only need to tap through five prompts instead of the usual eight.

Drivers turn on the app by swiping the on/off steering wheel button. When a ride pops up, you can see the route to the passenger on the map which Lyft has now switched from a flat, two-dimensional map to a three dimensional one.

This makes reading the map much easier and reduces the time it takes drivers to look away from the road. On the top left of the map is an “x”, which drivers can press to decline the ride if they want to.

The ride information screen now includes the rider rating, available incentives, and the option to accept the request.

Once you click the big purple accept button at the bottom, the Lyft app spells out your next move for you. This makes the journey smoother and easier to start.

Should things go awry along the way to a passenger, the route screen also has a purple call button so you can get in contact with the rider.

This convenient placement makes it simple to let passengers know what is going on in a flash, instead of having to click away from the main screen to do the same task.

Needless to say, the new way to accept and complete a ride is much more streamlined. Plus, the look and feel of the app is much cleaner now.

Simple things, such as making the pickup and drop off buttons pop out from the background give the app a clean feel. These buttons now feature white lettering on a bold, rounded purple background, which makes them more visible than the flat rectangular buttons used in the old app.

Speaking of the old app layout, one of the screens Lyft removed to reduce taps is the second arrival confirmation screen. Now drivers only have to press the “Tap To Arrive” button when they get on location in order to notify the passenger.

Lyft also eliminated the second drop off confirmation screen at the end of the ride, making it much faster to get to your next Lyft request or take a break.

Drivers may also enjoy rating Lyft passengers in the new five prompt process. This can be particularly beneficial if you need to warn other drivers about a passenger being a dangerous person. With this new update, drivers are not required to use it.

Even so, feel free to rate your riders as you see fit. Plus, it may give passengers the nudge they need to leave you a rating, too.

Update 2: Accepting a Ride

One of the biggest changes Lyft made to the app is how you go about declining a ride. Now, you can review the rider information, check Prime or other bonuses, and one-tap decline a ride all on the same screen. To do this, tap the “x” in the upper left corner of the map.

Compared to how drivers used to go about declining a ride, this option is so much faster. Before Lyft updated the app, if you wanted to decline a ride you had to wait for the ride acceptance timer to expire.

As many of you will remember, this was very frustrating and a colossal waste of time. Having the ability to decline the ride immediately is an important addition to the driver app.

Drivers can now avoid wasting time on a ride that is not profitable, free up the request for others who may be closer, and move on to the next ride. This frees up time, helps drivers earn more money, and prevents passengers from having to wait a long.

So all in all, Lyft’s decision to put the “x” on the initial screen was a fantastic choice that everyone benefits from.

Keep in mind, if you do decide to decline a request this will lower your acceptance rate. Although this does not reduce the odds of getting future requests, it does decrease your odds of getting the Lyft driver earnings guarantee.

Update 3: Calling Passengers

In the event of an emergency, traffic jam, or any other situation, you may need to get in contact with your passenger. In the past, accomplishing this task from the Lyft app has always been a bit of pain. To start the long process, you had to leave the map screen to call a passenger.

To make matters even worse, after you left the map screen and tapped the arrow in the upper right, you still had to tap, “Call Passenger”. From there, you had to tap the confirm button again.

Due to this layout, drivers needed to tap through the prompts, then wait for the app to load three times before they could contact a passenger.

That may not seem like a big deal at first glance, but when you are on your way to a passenger and you are in traffic, three taps to make a call is cumbersome. Not to mention unnecessary and quite unsafe.

After the 2018 Lyft update this past summer, this old process is gone.

Now, in the new app, you tap the phone icon to call a passenger on the same screen as the map. That is it.

Tap the purple phone button and the call starts. The only downside to this is that you are unable to text the passenger unless you save the number to your contacts. This is likely due to the danger of texting and driving.

Having said that, if you prefer to text a passenger when you arrive, you will still have to use your old methods. Bear in mind, even if you do not choose to call or text the passenger, they can contact you via either method.

Due to this, it is important for you to be on the lookout for any incoming messages from the passenger.

Update 4: Airport Queues

If you prefer to wait at the airport to pick up passengers, you may have noticed they added an extra step to the process.

Now, when you want to see how many vehicles are ahead of you in the airport queue, you need to click the airplane icon. If you do not, the number of vehicles ahead of you will not show.

Another issue to be on the lookout for is when and where you can check the queue. Lyft drivers that want to check out the airport scene will need to drive there to see it.

In some cases, this may mean you have to be in near to the airport before Lyft informs you of the current queue.

Reducing the number of taps and screens drivers need to cycle through to finish a ride was a great idea. Now, drivers can go from turning on the app to finding a suitable ride to accept within a matter of seconds. Or drivers can decline rides without having to lose time waiting for the request timer to expire. This decline button makes finding the right ride easier.

This also may reduce the odds of a driver switching over to a different app instead of driving with Lyft.

Plus, it’s difficult to confuse what the “x” button is for. Most of us know that you click “x” to close an app and the only reason a driver would want to not use the map was if they didn’t want to complete the ride. Or at least, that is our take on it.

Let us know if you feel different about it. Moving forward, the ride request page layout is wonderful. The map is bigger which was a good move considering the decline button is on it and does not get in the way at all.

The map also features the route information, such as the address, and how to get there. One of the downsides to this update is the estimated time of arrival (ETA). This important information that drivers use to determine whether to accept a ride is smaller than it was before.

Before the update, the ETA was in big letters below the Lyft logo. To get this information now, drivers must look to the left of the address. As always, the pickup location data is on the map, but now it’s in black text on a white background rather than white on purple.

Another noteworthy complaint drivers have spoken out about has to do with the phone. Some drivers have complained that they needed to get a new phone to run the app after the update.

Android users appear to be affected more than Apple iPhone iOS users, with many drivers suggesting to use version 7.0 instead of Android 6.0.

Other than that, the 2018 Lyft summer updates definitely seem to be an improvement. Each new feature appears to be making things easier for drivers from start to finish.

We want to know for sure, so be sure to share what you think of these new updates with us below!

Previous Releases And Updates

Drivers who update the driver app will notice Lyft has added the following features:

  • 24/7 Phone support: English and Spanish (but using employees & contractors)
  • Destination Filters: A destination option that allows drivers to pick up fares on their way to and from work
  • Google Maps: integration allowing drivers to navigate with Google Maps
  • Ride Guides: uses historical data to give drivers hints on where they are most likely to get their next ride

Let’s take a look at each one in a little greater detail.

24/7 Phone support

In what we we believe to be an answer to Uber recently adding live phone support for drivers as part of their 180 Days of Change initiative, Lyft has added 24/7 live support for drivers. Accessible via the new driver app, Lyft drivers are now able to contact support representatives directly for fast solutions to issues.

Around the clock support sounds like a great idea to us! We do, however, have one concern.

It appears that they are using both full-time Lyft employees and contractors to staff these inbound calls.  And it’s the contractors that worry some drivers.

Contractors sometimes seem less knowledgeable about a company’s products than its real full-time employees are.  We’re hoping though that Lyft can provide them with the right kind of training so everything will work fine.

If you’ve had experience with their phone support yet, let us know in the comments section how it went.

Destination Filters

Destination filters allow drivers to select a final destination they’d like to reach and Lyft will send them ride requests from riders who can be picked up along their route and who are going in the same general direction toward the driver’s final destination.

Lyft has always been very generous with their destination filters, offering six per day. Uber, on the other hand, had always offered two destination filters to drivers per day, but recently tried six as part of its 180 Days of Change program.

However, it didn’t work out and they retracted the offer and went back to two filters a day.  Apparently, so many drivers were using them that it was taking longer than usual for riders to find a driver.  Apparently, most drivers weren’t going in the same direction as most passengers, so when a passenger would call for a car the app would have to send a car that was farther away than usual.

One change Lyft has made to their destination filter is that it times out sooner now.  If you don’t get a trip within 15 minutes, it will sign you out of destination mode and that will count as one of your six available filters for the day.

Our advice: only use it in areas where you have a good idea you’ll get a trip.

Google Maps Integration

In the past, when a driver got a call, the Lyft driver app would automatically send the passenger’s pickup location to the driver’s preferred navigation app after a couple of seconds.

That sounds pretty good, until you’re actually in the situation and you realize those couple of seconds are like an eternity when you’re traveling down the road and you need to know as soon as possible if you’re going to go straight, make a left or turn right at the next intersection!

Now Lyft has integrated Google Maps directly into the driver app so the navigation should appear almost instantly on the driver’s screen.

If you’ve never been a rideshare driver, you won’t be able to fully appreciate what a big difference this can make to the driver experience.  It should also keep drivers safer on the road as they’ll have one less thing to fiddle with and one less distraction.

A screenshot of the Google Maps integration in the Lyft Driver App

Some drivers may complain that they’re using Google Maps instead of Waze.  After all, a lot of drivers prefer Waze. However, Lyft says you can still use Waze.

So, just keep on doing what you’ve been doing.  But, give the integrated Google Maps a try and you may just like it for its speed and ease of use.  And you might find that Google Maps isn’t really all that different from Waze when it comes to generating efficient and accurate routes.

Ride Guides

The introduction of Ride Guides is probably the most innovative change in the newest Lyft driver app update.

Ride Guides will use historical usage data to predict where a driver’s next trip is most likely to come from.  It will display a pop-up on the map informing drivers from where they are most likely to get their next trip.

It looks like they’ve actually done a thoughtful job with this feature.  Each recommendation will be personalized to each driver, meaning an area won’t be flooded with cars.  Where in the past you might have had six cars all converging within a one-block area, Lyft will now be able to suggest that some of the cars move to a different block while leaving a couple where they are.

Lyft claims the recommendations will be “intelligent” as they will be based on historical trends extracted from Lyft’s mountains of data.

An example of what Lyft’s new Ride Guides feature will look like

Our recommendation: give this feature a try and see how it works.  If you don’t get good results from it, then use it as a guide of where not to go.

Often, going against the grain and doing the opposite of what Lyft and Uber recommend is the smart strategic choice.  However, they are promising to use it to split drivers up so they don’t all congregate in the same spot, so it probably is worth giving a try.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about the Lyft Driver app. These tips can help improve your experience on the app and on the road.

I prefer my phone on Dark Mode. Is the app compatible?

Yes, Lyft recently made the Driver app compatible with the Dark Mode, a setting that allows you to turn app backgrounds black to reduce eye strain and save battery life. Go into the settings of the Lyft Driver app, and then select “Dark Mode.” You can elect to set Dark Mode to be consistent with your phone device settings. Or, you elect to have it always on or always off.

Note that for Dark Mode in the Lyft Driver app, you’ll need iOS 13 or above for Apple devices and Android 10 or above for other devices.

Do I need to do anything for my car to start driving?

In addition to cleaning your car and getting it ready for riders, you’ll need to do a few things to make your car ready to start driving.

Once you are approved as a driver, Lyft will send you an emblem to put on your car and signify to passengers that you drive for Lyft.

You may also want to consider using a phone mount and phone charger. You’ll need to use your phone to accept riders and navigate during trips. A phone mount will help you drive safely and keep both hands on a wheel, while a phone charger will ensure you have enough phone battery life to drive all day.

Can I see the passenger ratings that riders give me?

Yes, you can see your driver rating — your driver rating is the average of your last 100 ride ratings. A strong driver rating is integral to your success as a driver. Lyft aims to have all of its drivers at a 4.8-rating or higher.

You can also view the anonymous comments from riders to learn how to become an even better driver and  .

Use the Lyft Driver App and Start Driving Today

If you’re a new driver in the Lyft community, take some time to explore the Lyft Driver app before you hit the road. Understanding how the app works can save you stress later so you can focus on giving great drives.

Additionally, the Lyft Driver App can help you earn more money, as it lets you:

  • Get passengers to their destination more quickly
  • Book scheduled rides with customers who tip well
  • View upcoming bonuses and incentives in your area

Download the Lyft Driver App today and start earning money in the gig economy as a Lyft driver. If you prefer to drive for Uber, you can check out our guide to the Uber Driver app as well.

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