What is Lyft?
Lyft, like Uber, is a smartphone based service that pairs passengers that need a “lift” to personal drivers.
Private individuals offer their service as driver and their car as transportation.
Lyft varies in a lot of ways to Uber. Lyft includes an ability to tip the driver built into the app. No need to carry a few extra dollars to tip your driver. I’ve also heard from many passengers that they feel Lyft drivers are friendlier. I don’t think this is true. I think it feels that way because more experienced drivers drive for Lyft.
If you aren’t signed up as a Lyft passenger you should sign up and download the app. You can get a free ride up to $20. Plus, you may want to switch between apps to see which fare is cheaper. Sometimes Lyft has sales. In Austin this year they have offered 20% off and 50% off at times! Plus, you may be able to avoid an Uber surge price by using Lyft instead. Just check the suggested fare price when you open the app. If you see an Uber surge, switch to Lyft and check their price. And once you go Lyft you might never go back to Uber!
Classifications of Lyft Driver
Lyft is a more streamlined service than Uber. Lyft offers 3 levels of service. Lyft Line, Lyft, and Lyft Plus. They do not yet offer a premium service such as Uber.
- Lyft Line is Lyft’s car pool service for up to 2 people. Passengers pay a guaranteed fare which is usually significantly less than a regular Lyft fare. However, the driver has to take the preapproved route to the destination and may pick up additional passengers along the way. (This is why you can only pick up 2 passengers is to have room for 2 more.) The driver may have to drop off the additional Lyft Line passengers first. This is the drawback to using Lyft Line which operates the same as a car pool.
- Lyft is the standard service. It is equivalent to UberX. This is the right Lyft service for rides of up to 4 passengers.
- Lyft Plus is the service for up to 6 passengers. This is the service you would request if you had 5 or 6 passengers in your party or if you had a lot of cargo and need an extra-large vehicle.
Qualifications to Drive for Lyft
The qualifications to become a driver for Lyft are similar to those for other ridesharing services.
- You must be 21 years of age or older
- You must have a valid US driver’s license which has been active for at least 1 year
- You must have a 4 door vehicle with valid plates and your name on the vehicle’s insurance
- Your vehicle must be in good condition with no mechanical or cosmetic issues
- Must have 5 seat belts or more
- Your vehicle must be model year 2003 or newer in most cities
- 2005 or newer in Washington DC, Kentucky, Minneapolis St Paul, Philadelphia, Portland, and Seattle
- Model year 2007 or newer in Pennsylvania and Las Vegas
- You must pass a driving record check
- You must not have more than three moving violations within the past 3 years. (Example: accidents. traffic light violation, speeding ticket
- You must not have had a major moving violation in the past 3 years. (Example: driving on a suspended license, reckless driving.)
- A DUI or other drug related violation within the past 7 years.
- Any driving related convictions within the past 7 years. (Example: hit and run, felony involving a vehicle.)
- You must pass a criminal background check. You must not have had a conviction for any of the following within the past 7 years.
- A violent crime
- A felony
- A drug-related offense
- A sexual offense
- Theft or property damage offenses
- More restrictive standards may be required by certain cities and local governments.
- You must have a current smart phone to run the Lyft app
- iPhone 4 or newer running iOS 7.0+
- Android devices running Android 4.0+
Qualifications for Lyft
Lyft is the basic Lyft service. You must meet all the qualifications above. Your vehicle must also meet all the qualifications.
Before you are approved to drive for Lyft you will be paired with a mentor. The mentor will meet with you to inspect your car, have you perform a quick ride, and give you some basic tips and guidance before getting started. The mentor session is a review process. If you are late, don’t show, have an accident, commit a traffic violation, or your car doesn’t pass inspection the mentor may not approve you.
All Lyft drivers are also approved for and required to drive for Lyft Line.
Qualifications for Lyft Plus
Lyft Plus requirements are essentially the same as for Lyft except that your vehicle must have 7 or more seatbelts. Lyft Plus drivers are expected to pick up 6 passengers plus themselves.
Lyft offers aggressive bonuses to recruit new drivers.
- 1. Sign up to drive for Lyft
- 2. Pass your mentor session and background check
- 3. Complete 50 rides in your first 30 days (30 rides in Chicago, 100 rides in New York)
- 4. Maintain a good driving rating
- 5. Collect your bonus!
*Bonuses vary based on the city. Bonuses range from $50 to $1000!
** Accurate as of October 18, 2015.