Lyft Driver App Overhaul – New Features And Updates

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

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.

We’d love to hear from you in the comments section and what you thought after you’ve had a chance to try out some of these new features!

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