Lyft has been busy recently, adding new features galore to the Lyft driver app, giving drivers yet another reason to try them out. We thought this would be a good time to fill you in on the new capabilities.
New Features Within The Lyft Driver App
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 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 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 a driver’s experience. It should also keep drivers safer on the road as they’ll have one less thing to fiddle with and one less distraction.
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.
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.
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!