Lyft Driver App Update 2018 - Ride Requests

Lyft Is Rolling Out An Updated Driver App This Summer – See It Here!

The New Lyft Driver App Will Streamline Pickups and Dropoffs

While most drivers prefer driving for Lyft, historically, Uber has had the upper hand when it comes to the driver app. Most drivers will tell you that the Uber driver app has been a bit more intuitive and easier to use. That may change with the new driver app that Lyft will be rolling out this summer. Lyft has been gathering driver feedback on the app for a while and made a number of changes last year. However, they’ve now completely revamped the driver app and will incorporate a number of features aimed at making the app easier to use. 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.” Check out the following video to see what’s coming, and then keep reading for in depth screenshots and feature descriptions.

The Old Pick Up And Drop Off Experience

As you can see below, there are currently eight steps (eight screen taps) a driver must take to accept and complete a ride. This process has been the same for a few years now, and can seem a bit cumbersome. Also, at the end of the trip, you have to rate the rider immediately, a feature that has always been annoying.

Lyft Driver App - Pickup and Dropoff - Old

Pick Ups And Drop Offs In The Updated Lyft Driver App

The new Lyft driver app looks much cleaner, is easier to read, and reduces the number of steps need to accept and complete a ride to five instead of eight.

Lyft Driver App Update 2018

The first thing you may notice is that the pickup and drop off buttons are much better. The white lettering on a bold, rounded purple backround, is clearer than the flat rectangular buttons in the old app. Even better, Lyft has finally chosen to remove the second arrival confirmation screen. Instead of pressing “Tap To Arrive” and then pressing “Confirm Arrival” on a second screen, now drivers will just press “Tap To Arrive” and the rider will be notified. Lyft has also improved how a  driver contacts a rider. In the old app, you had to click away from the main screen to contact a passenger. In the new app, as soon as you accept a ride, a phone icon will appear on your screen. Simply tap the icon to contact your rider.

When dropping off, Lyft has also eliminated the second drop off confirmation screen. Another nice feature of the new Lyft driver app – rating your passenger is now optional!

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New Lyft Driver App: Accepting A Ride

The big change on the the ride request screen is that you can now decline a ride by tapping the “x” in the upper left corner. Before, you had to wait for the ride acceptance timer to expire. Having the ability to decline the ride immediately is an important addition to the driver app and the Lyft platform in general. It’s better for the driver, because he or she can immediately decline and become available to accept another ride. Having a way to decline a ride immediately will also improve the experience on the rider side because it will decrease passenger wait time.

Lyft Driver App Update 2018 - Ride Requests

New Lyft Driver App: Arrivals And Drop Offs

As noted before, the new app only requires one tap to arrive. Even better, Lyft has switched from a flat two dimensional map in the old driver app to a quasi three dimensional map in the new app. They’ve also improved the fonts and made the screen clearer and easier to read.

Lyft Driver App Update 2018 - Arrival and Drop Off

New Lyft Driver App: Calling Passengers

Contacting passengers from the Lyft app has always been a bit of pain. For one thing, you had to leave the map screen to call a passenger. Even worse, after you clicked the arrow in the upper right, you still had to click, “Call Passenger”, and then confirm that you really wanted to call the passenger. That’s three steps a driver has to take to contact a passenger. When you’re on your way to a passenger and you’re in traffic, three clicks to make a call is cumbersome and unnecessary, not to mention, a  bit unsafe. In the new app, you tap the phone icon to call a passenger – much easier.

Lyft Driver App Update 2018 - Calling Passengers


This is the first major update to the Lyft driver app in quite some time. Overall, it looks like Lyft has made a number of good improvements. The interface is cleaner and easier to read. The new font and icons look more modern, and the removal of the secondary confirmation screens should make driving for Lyft a bit smoother.

What do you think of the new Lyft driver app? Are there any additional improvements you’d like to see? Let us know in the comments below.

Lyft Driver Support Center 2018

Lyft Announces $100 Million Investment For Lyft Driver Support Centers

“We’re not doing 180 days of change,” said Jon McNeill, Lyft’s new COO, referencing Uber’s attempt last year to improve relations with it’s drivers. “Lyft has been committed to drivers since our beginning.”

Mr. McNeill, who recently joined from Tesla where he was President of Global Sales, today announced a $100 million investment in next generation driver support centers. Some of these new support centers will include access to low cost basic maintenance (like oil changes), car washes, and communal areas where drivers can refresh, receive help on their taxes, or chat with other drivers while their car is charging. Lyft will also be doubling support hours at current Lyft Hub locations starting today.

There’s been much talk about the arrival of self-driving cars and how that will affect the number of available driving jobs. However, Lyft is anticipating that it’s number of drivers will actually double in the next five years, and they are investing in field support for those drivers today. “Just as advancements in aviation technologies haven’t reduced the need for pilots or flight staff, there’s still security in the future for the 1.4 million people who depend on driving for an income,” noted McNeill.

When And Where Will The New Lyft Hubs Open?

Lyft anticipates having the first new center open in the coming months. The initial plans call for about 30 Lyft driver hubs (presumably in major markets). Currently, Lyft has 15 driver Hubs around the country. The company is still determining where the first few new locations will be.

What Will The New Lyft Hubs Be Like?

From the renderings, nice.

Lyft Service Bay Hub

According to McNeill, Lyft’s new driver centers will be “designed to support drivers on and off the road. We’ll help drivers make a greater profit by reducing their costs, and providing education on how to maximize their earnings.” As such, many of Lyft’s new driver support centers will include heavily discounted oil changes and charging stations for electric vehicles.

Some of the new hubs will also have learning spaces where drivers can get help with filing taxes. Also new will be communal areas that offer educational opportunities, career support, as well as refreshments, clean bathrooms, and a comfortable place to rest and recharge.

Of course, the hubs will continue to offer access to the Lyft support team.

One of the main goals of the new driver centers is to help lower driver operating costs, an idea we at Rideshare Central can get behind. After all, our motto is “drive profitably”.

The Ongoing Lyft-Uber Battle To Be First With Drivers

Lyft’s new driver centers are the latest strike in an ongoing battle between Lyft and Uber for most favored status among drivers. While most drivers prefer Lyft, Uber has made a number of moves to increase driver loyalty, including an app redesign, finally adding in-app tipping, and the aforementioned 180 Days Of Change. Lyft has responded by positioning itself as the rideshare company where drivers earn more and receive better company support.

So far, Lyft is winning the driver satisfaction battle. 75% of Lyft drivers are satisfied with their driving experience compared to only 49% of Uber drivers. However, the rideshare industry is still very young and Lyft has received some flack in the past for seeming to mimic Uber’s moves on app features and company infrastructure.

At first glance, it seems they are trying to do the same with these new driver support centers. Uber has approximately 600 Greenlight centers across the country, allowing the company to offer in-person support in most markets. However, while a few of these centers offer some of the things the new Lyft Hubs will offer, most are small offices with the same driver support you can get in the app. The planned new Lyft hubs opening around the country in the coming months will likely have much more to offer drivers than the average Uber Greenlight center. as Lyft is looking to solidify it’s reputation as the rideshare company for drivers.

We’ll keep you up to date on Lyft’s new hubs as we get more info. Drive profitably.

Uber & Lyft Driver Harassment

Passengers Harassing Drivers – Uber and Lyft’s General Response — or Lack Thereof


Uber is in the news again today. After a CNN investigation, Uber has decided to stop forcing passengers who are victims of sexual assault by Uber drivers into mandatory forced binding arbitration. This means the victims claims can now be heard in a real courtroom, as opposed to a Soviet Union style kangaroo court known as the Arbitration Association of America, where Uber has systemic advantages, and rarely loses. Tony West, Uber’s Chief Legal Officer, noted, “We think it is very, very important to allow survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment the control and agency that was, frankly, stripped from them in that incident.”

We contacted Uber to ask if they will be dropping mandatory, forced, binding arbitration for other disputes involving riders or drivers. Uber’s spokesperson responded that, “few experiences deprive an individual of control more than sexual assault or sexual harassment and we want to give them a choice to restore even a small amount of that.” While expansion of this policy is not currently on the table, Uber’s spokesperson said, “we’re always reviewing our policies and will continue to do so going forward.”

While Uber’s decision is a good step in the right direction, both Uber and Lyft still have a serious problem not only with drivers harassing or assaulting passengers, but passengers harassing and assaulting drivers.

No matter what kind of public job you have, there’s an extremely good chance that you’ll deal with harassment in your work life, especially if you’re a woman. In one study, about 60 percent of women reported experiencing sexual harassment at some point, and 69 percent of those women say they experienced it in their work life, meaning that a full 40 percent of women reported workplace harassment in that study. Look outside that oft-cited statistic, however, and you’ll find that many low-paying service jobs have much higher rates of harassment, with as many as 90 percent of women in the restaurant industry reporting sexual harassment. It’s something that’s awful, but which happens frequently, and the worst thing is – it’s something that women have just learned to deal with.

Much of the time, women don’t report harassment when they experience it, and if they do report it, it’s kind of anyone’s guess as to whether anything will be done about the situation. That’s one of the most important aspects of workplace harassment, and it’s why Lyft and Uber are consistently under such scrutiny about how they address the issue during their rides. There are endless stories that female drivers have shared about rideshare harassment, and it’s awful — but the issue is, it’s constant.

Of course, Uber and Lyft have official stances that condemn sexual assault. Uber even has a page on their website about how they’re working to stop sexual assault in the rideshare industry, and Lyft keeps their PR just as clean, with a page on safety and how they attempt to stop these assaults before they happen. If you’re just looking at the official statements, it seems pretty good. After all, they’re doing what they can to keep their passengers safe, right?

Or maybe not. With all the harassment claims, an important pattern has emerged, and it’s the same pattern that has emerged in every other workplace. Uber and Lyft just don’t take these accusations seriously, and many people have come away from reporting harassment extremely let-down by their experience. Despite their claims of taking accusations of sexual assault seriously, Uber and Lyft just haven’t, leaving both passengers and drivers with the feeling that these rideshares just don’t care about them. Add that to the fact that the actual management tends to be pretty sexist, and it’s clear they’re not exactly setting things up to be great for their company or their customers.

So, what’s really going on? What’s the best way to stop sexual assault? Read on to get the full picture of harassment in the rideshare industry, and how to stop it — both on our part and on the company’s.

How Frequent Is Rideshare Harassment, Really?

If you rely solely on how often headlines report on things, everyone is at constant risk of being murdered, and every celebrity is constantly in jail. That’s just how the news works; people like to read about horrible incidents, and so these stories make up a huge chunk of the overall stories. In fact, we just don’t know how frequent rideshare harassment is. The few people who have tried to understand harassment experienced on Lyft and Uber rides, both drivers and passengers, have run into a significant amount of issues. Police don’t keep records of how many assault cases are on taxis or rideshare services, and of course, harassment is routinely underreported, meaning that there’s no real way of judging its frequency. Who’s Driving You keeps a list of reported harassment and assault cases, but they’re very clear on their mission — to promote taxis.

Therefore, we really only have anecdotal evidence when it comes to understanding rideshare assault cases. Uber states that less than 170 customer service tickets reported any kind of assault, but of course, they’re in the business of making their company look good. Especially with their fairly terrible track record, it’s hard to take their claims at face value. They also rightly mention that some users go directly to the police with their concerns, circumventing their complaints system entirely. In addition, they state they’ve contacted everyone who submitted a complaint directly referencing experiencing harassment — though, with all of the anecdotal evidence regarding their response rate, it’s hard to take that at face value either.

The other thing to take into account is the rates of harassment or assault between rideshares and taxis. Despite what many people would think from just headlines, the only investigations that have existed — which, to be fair, are few and far between — have turned up a similar rate of assault between rideshares and for-hire rides. One, conducted by the city of Austin regarding a few months’ time, showed five allegations of assault against Uber drivers, two against Lyft drivers, and three against taxicab drivers.

Regardless of the comparison between Uber, Lyft, and taxis, however, there are still an unacceptable amount of allegations — enough for a class action lawsuit. Whether this should also be happening for taxis is something that nobody seems to have enough information for, but clearly, there’s a problem. People are angry, and it shows in the dozens of blog posts, articles, and opinion pieces about it.

Passengers harassing Lyft and Uber drivers

What Are Lyft and Uber Doing About It?

So then comes the big question: how do Lyft and Uber respond to these complaints? Again, just looking at their PR, they seem to be responding well. After public allegations of sexism at Uber’s headquarters, they responded with an “urgent investigation,” instructing their human resources department to look into these allegations and hopefully fix them. However, since this comes after a public allegation (something which easily damages Uber’s reputation, especially considering that the specific incident directly followed a #DeleteUber campaign), it comes off as sketchy to many people.

There are also endless stories about Uber and Lyft ignoring or even covering up sexual harassment claims. Whether it’s at their headquarters or just with drivers, they don’t seem to be as invested in protecting their drivers as they do in protecting their reputation. Of course, they’re businesses. Their first stake is in making themselves look good, and corporations just don’t have the general drive to care about people, especially not if it costs them money. The question for a corporation is, should they spend that money up front to prevent any problems, or will it be cheaper to just deal with problems as they come?

Although Uber tends to be in the news more frequently for these issues, Lyft is not without its own flaws. One driver specifically talks about how extremely difficult it was to even report harassment she experienced on a ride, and then how she was briefly banned from the app for the report. Lyft restored her access after she spoke out publicly, but she was left to wonder whether it really was an accident, as they stated, or if it is something that routinely happens, and women just never say anything about it.

It’s also been noted that Uber and Lyft have limitations on how much actual safety training can be given to their employees. Certain amounts of training will reclassify freelance contractors, which is what rideshare drivers are currently classified as, into employees. Uber and Lyft don’t like that — having someone be an employee means potentially having to pay them more, having to pay them benefits, and having to do an awful lot of paperwork that neither company wants to pay the money to do. So, once again, the corporation is the most important part of this equation. If it seems to come back to money, that’s probably because it does. Uber is valued at 72 billion dollars, and Lyft is valued at 11 billion. Neither company wants to pay their workers more, and for these companies, it seems like if that means their freelance contractors are less safe, so be it.

What Can We Do to Combat It?

Obviously, changing the system entirely is the best way to make people safer. In the class action lawsuit filed against Uber, the plaintiffs are hoping to make Uber require in-person screening, implement fingerprint-based background checks, and hire investigators to look into assault and harassment complaints. The many women who have spoken up about being harassed on the job also tend toward asking Uber and Lyft to put more time into their responses to harassment. By simply creating a task force whose entire job is to respond to harassment and assault allegations, rather than sending the same couple of form letters over and over again, Uber and Lyft can not only make both drivers and passengers feel safer, but actually make them safer in a tangible way.

Of course, the barrier there has to do with the fact that it will cost money for them to do so. Many drivers and riders prefer to go directly to the police, or go to the police as they’re waiting on Lyft and Uber to reply to them. Lyft and Uber are just going to have to decide — is it worth the money to avoid more assaults? The answer may seem obvious to the average person, but apparently it isn’t to Uber and Lyft, yet.

Female Uber driver on way to passenger.

Where Are the Women of the Uber and Lyft World?

Ridesharing services don’t seem like they should suffer unduly from rampant sexism, and yet when you look into it, it’s actually easy to find a startling amount of misogyny permeating Uber and, to a lesser extent, Lyft. Ridesharing apps have been an amazing invention, and there are many drivers and riders who rely very heavily on it, but that doesn’t mean it’s without its problems. As with so many other industries, there are many ways that misogyny has crept into the Uber and Lyft world.

Interestingly, only 14 percent of Uber drivers are women, which is higher than the average percentage of female taxi drivers, but lower than Lyft, which is at about 30 percent. Certain things that ridesharing has improved over traditional taxis, such as the ability to track rides and accept payment in a non-cash manner, has definitely increased safety. But feeling “safer” doesn’t necessarily mean that women feel “safe.” The problem is, those perceptions aren’t always able to be completely disproved.

It’s extremely common for women to be more perceptive to potential danger, even if the situation turns out to be okay. As part of a group that has a 70 percent chance of experiencing violence from men at some point in their lives, it makes sense that women would be more attuned to danger, and also more worried about being caught in a dangerous situation. Honestly, it’s not completely ridiculous for women to be worried about the safety of being a rideshare driver. Below is an explanation of why women may feel less safe in the rideshare business and what can be done to fix it.

What Is Safety?

“Safety” is often conceptualized as the idea of avoiding being physically injured as a driver. Certainly, that’s an important part of being safe on the job, and it’s an issue that can affect male rideshare drivers as much as female ones. Being a cab driver is one of the ten most dangerous jobs in the United States. Though homicide rates are still extremely low, and ridesharing services have found ways around many of the most pressing safety issues that drivers face, it’s understandable to be concerned about that aspect of staying safe. When it comes to physical injury, it’s also common to worry about being struck by other drivers or getting in an accident, both of which are general risks for injury on a day-to-day driving basis, even if you don’t have passengers in the car.

Lyft driver picking up passenger.

Many of the Uber and Lyft safety tips focus on this kind of safety, attempting to help drivers understand how to drive without getting in an accident, as well as how to keep some space between the driver and the passenger, to reduce potential conflict. In fact, of the seven safety tips Uber gives its drivers on its website, four are with regards to avoiding accidents or staying safe in the case of an accident. Only two vaguely reference proactively keeping the peace with your riders, and one explains how to report riders after the fact, if necessary. These are definitely important safety tips, and ones that all riders should keep in mind, but the truth is, female drivers face different challenges when it comes to safety, and it’s not being addressed as well as it should be.

For women, “safety” includes things like being hit on, being touched inappropriately, and even being literally stalked by men. Though simply being flirted with in a situation where you can’t walk away can be an annoyance, many women are forced to see it as a potential danger as well, because they have no idea how volatile the man talking to them is. Turning down a man who clearly seems insistent on getting your number, no matter how polite you are and what excuse you give, could become violent with absolutely no warning, transforming into a severe safety concern within seconds. While physical safety is extremely important, there are behaviors men often exhibit toward women that, while not physically violent on the surface, can easily develop into something dangerous. Many women find the prospect of being alone in a car with a male passenger daunting, and that’s part of the reason many women don’t want to drive for rideshare services

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So, How Can We Fix It?

The issue at hand, obviously, isn’t that women just don’t like driving. After all, HopSkipDrive, a startup that helps harried parents transport their kids to and from appointments and outings, boasts a driver base that’s nearly 100 percent women. Rather, it seems like the issue is split between women who have had bad experiences with Uber or Lyft’s responses to assault, and women who hear these horror stories and decide that they would be better off not putting themselves in that position.

Certainly, there are a number of women who have had previous bad experiences with Uber and have determined never to drive for them again, even if they do decide to use other rideshare services like Lyft. One particular example, which made multiple headlines, was that of an anonymous alleged assault victim who received multiple form letters from Uber after contacting them regarding the incident; in a statement to Forbes, she stated that she was deeply disappointed in the handling of her case, and she never wanted to work for Uber again. A specific anonymous Arizona driver said that she has had unwanted advances “about five times in about a thousand rides,” and, despite the fact that she personally has decided to continue driving for Uber, she believes that every woman is going to have to face that at some point. It’s extremely scary to be confronted with these stories and still make the decision to do that sort of work.

One of the big things that has to change is ridesharing itself. This has already happened in some ways; long ago, drivers could see Lyft passengers’ numbers, leading to some creepy, uncomfortable situations, but that has changed. However, both Uber and Lyft need to make some big changes in how they react to claims of harassment, because right now, their track record isn’t good. Only responding to harassment reports with a phone call after a media outlet releases the story looks bad, and warns women away from the company.

Another thing that needs to change is the companies’ opinions toward women. Lyft has more than twice the percentage of female drivers, and some of that is likely due to the fact that Uber’s official stance on women isn’t exactly rosy. Back in 2014, Uber launched a blatantly sexist promotion called Avions de Chasse, named after a colloquial French term used to describe a beautiful woman, where they effectively advertised the idea of being picked up and driven around for 20 minutes by a model. Travis Kalanick, the prior CEO of Uber, was also well-known for being extremely sexist, which has understandably driven many female riders away from the company.

Uber driver picking up passenger.

If Uber, and to a slightly lesser extent, Lyft, are legitimately interested in making sure that they recruit more women to drive, they need to actively reach out and demonstrate that they take issues with harassment seriously. It’s not just good PR, either; it’s good business sense, as women have been shown to be substantially safer drivers than men. But as long as these horror stories, and Uber and Lyft’s subpar reactions to them, are big news, it’s not going to attract female drivers.

So, Is It Safe to Be a Female Lyft or Uber Driver?

While women who driver for Uber and Lyft definitely have more horror stories regarding their passengers, and tend to also have the unique experience of being resigned to it as a reality, many of them do continue to drive. These women are still driving for Uber or Lyft after having experiences with sexism or harassment, because they don’t feel like the overall risks outweigh the benefits, and because it’s a job that pay money. Though there are risks, many drivers say that the dangers they experience are “nothing that would scare me into not driving again,” as a Los Angeles Uber driver stated. For many women, it’s the perception, and not necessarily the actual reality, that stops them from driving for Uber or Lyft.

While there are certainly dangers in driving for Uber or Lyft, it’s an overhyped myth to say it’s so dangerous that you’re at severe risk of being injured or assaulted if you Drive With Lyft or Uber. Even some of the more sketchy incidents can turn out to be okay; sometimes, just picking up drunk guys can end better than you’d be worried about. Most of the time, it’s smooth sailing, and even the women who do experience unwanted harassment usually don’t have it end up escalating to physical violence. You should take steps to ensure your safety, and it’s likely that you should be a little more cautious than men would. However, if you want to sign up and earn some extra cash, don’t let anyone stop you — Uber and Lyft are both options that you can and should consider pursuing.

driver safety on Uber or Lyft

How To Stay Safe While Driving for Lyft or Uber

There are all kinds of tips out there about how to ensure that Uber and Lyft passengers stay safe. Discussions surrounding rideshare safety seem to almost exclusively focus on ensuring that the people calling for rides stay safe. This is definitely important. As awful as it is, assaults on passengers do happen, and it’s important to make sure that riders get to their destinations safely. However, it almost seems as though people forget about the equally important half of the equation — keeping drivers safe as well.

Driving Uber or Lyft is generally perfectly safe. However, lots of drivers have at least one story involving harassment by an Uber or Lyft passenger. While many strides have been made in the taxi industry over the last few decades to ensure that drivers are kept as safe as possible, Uber and Lyft drivers don’t have some of the security measures that cabs do. Partitions in cabs, for example, are required in many cities, but are not necessary to Drive With Lyft or Uber.

Here are some of the easiest ways to ensure that you stay safe while driving for Lyft or uber.

Don’t Drive Unsafely Or In Places You Feel Unsafe

Obviously, you want to get as many rides done in the most efficient manner possible. However, it’s always more important to keep yourself safe, and you shouldn’t push yourself into potentially unsafe situations just to chase a little bit of a bonus. For example, it doesn’t really pay to rush and drive like a maniac when you’re in downtown during rush hour. Doing that usually just wastes gas and makes for an uncomfortable ride for the passenger. Also, you increase the risk of getting in an accident.

You can’t really control where the next ride is going to take you. However, keep aware of your surroundings. If a ride takes you into an area where your feel uneasy, simply use the last ride setting on either the Lyft or Uber app, and then drive out of the area when the ride is done. As you probably know, one of the keys to driving Uber or Lyft is to not drive around unnecessarily. So, if you want to pull over to wait for a ride request to come in, try to do so in a well lit area.

If you’re driving in a city where you’ve lived for a good period of time, you likely know where the city tends to be more and less safe. If not, do a bit of research before hitting the road.

Think of the Time

Even the nicest cities can often get a little bit dangerous after midnight. These issues often get compounded with the date; New Year’s Eve is one of the most dangerous nights of the year, and Friday and Saturday nights are more likely to be dangerous than 11pm on a Wednesday. Staying safe often means thinking of the date, the time of day, and anything important that has happened recently in your area. If a big football game with lots of heightened emotions is going to happen later, it’s likely a good idea to just sign off for the night before then, especially if your town’s team loses.

On an everyday level, there are generally some overarching tips that can be helpful for organizing your drive times. Both the morning and afternoon rush hours are often great times to pick up passengers that are much less likely to be a danger. The hours right around a traditional nine-to-five work day are a great time to pick up people who are on their way to work at the same time as everyone else, so there will be plenty of others around you. The timing between the two also tends to be pretty safe; it’s less likely for a dangerous incident to occur in broad daylight. If you’re really concerned about your safety, it’s likely a good idea to start no earlier than about 6am and end no later than about 7pm.

Obviously, at the end of the day, you know your city, and you can always do research on the city by yourself. If the drunks start coming out around 10pm in your area, just avoid driving after then. If you know that there are certain regional holidays where people love to go out and get drunk, avoid the streets during those days. Making an extra couple of dollars is not worth the worry you’ll feel during unsafe conditions, and it’s always a good idea to err on the side of caution when it comes to your personal safety.

Consider Forming A Driver Safety Network

Small groups of drivers around the country have beginning forming security networks, usually using a group chat service. Basically, you have a number of drivers join a group in Google Hangouts, WeChat or another messaging service. Then, when you go out driving, you simply keep the chat window in the background. The idea is that if you have around ten or more drivers in a group, there will usually be someone else driving while you are. That way, you have someone you can send a message, or broadcast your location to, if necessary.

Rely on the App

Whether you’re using Uber or Lyft, there are a few features of the app that are there specifically to ensure that you get your passengers to and from their destinations safely. These companies want to keep you safe, but it’s not altruism. It’s more that neither Uber or Lyft want another lawsuit on their hands!

The first bit of help the app can give you comes in the form of passenger ratings. When you get a notification with a prospective passenger, the app will also give you that passenger’s rating — a cumulative measure of the ratings they’ve been given across other drivers they’ve been transported by. Like your driver rating, that passenger rating will go down if they’re rude, mean, obnoxious, or otherwise unsafe. If a passenger’s rating drops particularly low, the company will likely take action, but it’s a good idea to take the rating into account when you’re deciding whether or not to accept the ride. You want to accept as many rides as possible, but if you’re debating whether to accept a passenger with a 4.3 rating —  it’s just a good idea to say no. You don’t want to put yourself into a situation that could have easily been avoided. If someone’s pulling a 4.3, the ride is likely to be unpleasant.

Another thing the app allows you to do is cancel rides. Though you of course want to avoid canceling rides if at all possible, you always have the right to cancel if you pull up to the pick-up spot and you feel unsafe. Whether that’s because the person is not who they described themselves to be, they have a weapon or menacing item, or they’re engaging in behavior that makes you uncomfortable, you’re never forced to let someone into your car. Upon canceling a ride, make sure you explain why the ride was canceled. If the rider was misrepresenting themselves by doing something such as claiming to be a completely different person, it may be cause for Uber or Lyft to take action against that passenger and ensure they do not harm anyone else. However, keep in mind, Uber & Lyft will not suspend you for a low acceptance rate, but they will for a high cancel rate.

Make Sure People Know Where You Are

When you’re going to be in a situation that has every chance to turn dangerous, it’s wise to make sure you’ve informed others. If you disappear while doing your daily Uber driving, you want to make sure that someone will notice and try to get ahold of you. For some people, this just entails texting someone when you get home, while for more safety-forward people, it may mean live-sharing your location with someone you trust throughout all of your work hours. There are also apps that can do a similar thing.

Getting people involved may also mean getting Lyft or Uber involved if something does go wrong. Going along with the above point, you should always contact the company’s support if there is a serious issue. Whether you’re verbally or physically threatened, someone makes a threat against themselves or others, or something equally dangerous happens, the rideshare company needs to know. Contact the company, contact any relevant authorities, and make sure that the people you love know about it too. There’s nothing wrong with covering all your bases; when it comes to your personal safety, you can’t be too careful.

Staying Safe is Important, Not Impossible

Every time an accident happens with a business or profession that’s in the news recently, it gets a substantial amount of media attention. This can lead to people thinking it’s much more dangerous than it actually is, and subsequently getting more worried about their own safety. There are definitely safety concerns that go along with being an Uber or Lyft driver, but it’s something that you can guard against on your own, if you know what you’re doing. By paying attention to when and where you’re driving, using your app’s safety features as they’re intended to be used, and keeping in contact with the people that know you, you’ll be able to make the most of your rideshare experience, while also keeping yourself safe.


Lyft driver working towards her Lyft driver bonus

How to Reap the Rewards of Uber & Lyft Driving

Uber & Lyft are the new taxi. Both have become the faces of the booming rideshare industry, and with that claim to fame comes the tricky work of making a semi-freelance business work for everyone involved – up to and including the people who decide to work there on a sudden whim. I myself began driving for both Lyft and Uber a few years ago with that same sort of suddenness most new drivers begin with, and even now find myself feeling some commiseration for new drivers every time I use the service as a passenger. I can’t help but wonder if they won’t be one of the many new drivers to get past their promotional period and find themselves completely overwhelmed.

There’s a lot to love about driving for Uber or Lyft. There are a slew of promotions going on at all times of the year, promising everything from double and triple surge pay, to guaranteed weekly earnings. For certain folks who think they can make it big, and who have a good credit score, there are even some leasing options for cars if the one you currently own doesn’t quite check all the boxes on their vehicle standards list. The freedom of being able to work the hours you want on the days you prefer is enough to lure in most anybody, and that’s precisely what they seem to be counting on to draw in new drivers all throughout the year.

So, what’s the catch? When I first started driving, I had no idea the sort of hard work and challenges that went into being an Uber or Lyft driver. The app always seemed busy, and there were so many forums and support groups out there, I thought I’d have the skills to make it big in no time. Turns out, though – it’s a little more complicated than that. Whether it’s the small print on their promotional contracts or the reality of the learning curve involved with being a new driver, there was a lot of work needed to improve my performance and really make a name for myself as a skilled, reputable driver.

Below are a few pointers and facets of rideshare, which I think are the most important for new drivers to figure out during their initial step into the world of Uber and Lyft. With any luck, it’ll help keep you on the right track for success!

Be Careful of Fine Print

Experienced rideshare drivers have it all figured out – or so it appears. From the rider’s perspective, it looks like the easiest job in the world. You get picked up, dropped off, and your driver carries on to the next ride without any sort of apparent hassle. In actuality, there are a number of things that your driver is keeping track of at any given time; these become immediately obvious when you’re first starting out as a new Uber or Lyft driver. There are not only a million things to keep track of, but a million more that you’re expected to take care of in order to earn those famous bonuses.

It is crucial to monitor the fine print involved with being a driver. When I first began, I made the mistake of not quite reading the details as carefully as I should have. I was promised a thousand dollars a week (yes, a week!) for the first four weeks – just for signing up with a simple promotional code. What I easily overlooked? The tiny writing beneath, which spelled out the requirements I needed to fulfill every single week in order to actually make that sort of money. What once seemed easy became a strenuous grind of meeting the ‘as long as you spend fifty hours online and complete fifty rides, per week’ rule that dictated if I’d be making that thousand dollars come payday.

Since I already worked a part-time shift at another job, it seemed next to impossible to add fifty hours of driving into my schedule. Plus, not only was I faced with the daunting task of finding more hours in the day, I quickly learned the nightmarish truth that unless I was working those hours during primetime, there was little chance of magically capturing fifty rides in a week. It was two to three times harder finding rides in the middle of a weekday than it was on the weekend, and what started as a promising extra paycheck quickly became a huge stress.

Another thing worth noting in promotional details is that this cash, at least during the time I was driving, is subject to taxes. The promise of one thousand dollars shrank to eight hundred dollars, which was a big enough difference to threaten the budget I’d made while expecting another two hundred padding my bank account. Thankfully, tips aren’t subject to taxes, but neither are they guaranteed.

In addition to long nights and crazy hours spent hounding rides, you’ll also be expected to keep your ratings above a 4.6. This shouldn’t be too hard so long as you are a courteous and reliable driver, but never underestimate the power of one cranky passenger with a trigger finger for low ratings. Uber is especially unforgiving, averaging your rate from your past five hundred rides, while Lyft is generous enough to only hold you accountable for your past one hundred rides. Either way, one bad set of stars can gravely affect your overall driver rating, and that alone could be enough to deny you any sort of bonus or the promotion you’re expecting. Worse yet, low ratings can quickly lead to your permanent deactivation as a driver – and low, again, is anything less than a still surprisingly high 4.6.

If you don’t spare the time to read the large and small text of any promotion you’re about tackle, there’s a chance you could set yourself up for failure from the beginning. Make sure you have the time to commit to a promotional period if that’s what you end up going for, otherwise it might prove less stressful to find a different bonus, like the ‘one lump sum’ sign-on bonus.

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Remember: Service With a Smile!

Ratings are absolutely critical to your success as a rideshare driver, no matter if you’re working for Uber or Lyft. Ratings alone can determine whether or not you even keep your job as a driver for very long; they’re that important. If you’ve ever used a ridesharing app like Lyft or Uber, you’ll recall that at the end of your ride, you have the option to rate your driver and even offer advice on how they could provide you with better service next time. What you may not have known is: if you, as a driver, fall below a four-star average, you get a written warning about your continued employment with the company within minutes of falling below that average. If your rating stays below the mandatory score for a certain period of time, they will terminate you with little more than an e-mail explaining your deactivation as a driver from that point forward.

Uber driver on way to Uber driver promo

There are a few ways you can leverage a rating to your favor. As a whole, the consensus on forums and support groups alike is that service with a smile gets you everywhere. Be attentive to your passenger and their individual needs. Consider keeping snacks, tissues, or water bottles in your car to offer as a courtesy to your riders. Pay attention to your passenger and how things may be changing throughout the course of the ride. I once turned around what I thought would be a poor rating from an ornery rider, just by recognizing how short they were becoming in conversation and asking how their day had been. By allowing them to vent to me on the trip to their destination, they changed from being angry (and possibly taking out their agitation out on me) to thanking me, tipping me, and giving me a five-star rating while commending my interpersonal skills as a driver. Recognize those social cues in your passenger, and neither you nor your rating will regret it.

Beyond this, remember that it goes both ways; ultimately, the companies look at everyone who was involved in the rating if things get that bad. Riders, too, have ratings of their own, and even though these ratings won’t prevent their obtaining rides via Uber’s discretion, it does get displayed next to their nameplate when a driver goes to accept their request for a lift. You do have the option to decline them. Don’t be afraid to decline a particularly low-rated rider, especially if your promotional pay depends on keeping a higher average for yourself. (But do make sure you don’t decline too many rides, or you may end up on the chopping block for that too.)

Acceptance Rates

Let’s delve into that a bit more. Acceptance rates are actually a key part of being an Uber or Lyft driver, and you’ll need to keep track of where your personal average is, so you don’t accidentally receive disciplinary action for declining too many rides.

Your acceptance rate with either Lyft or Uber, as a driver, is a percentage that reflects your tendency to accept or deny rides. This rate has to remain over ninety percent at the end of the work-week. If it does not, you might not get your promotional pay and you may find yourself with a warning e-mail in your inbox. This can get a little tricky, because your acceptance rate is based on your weekly average – rather than your overall average – and that can make it a pretty scary thing to keep track of, especially when you’re just starting out and might be uncertain about which rides to take and which to avoid. Remember that at the beginning of your week, those numbers might look a lot scarier than they actually are. Commonly, the numbers will even back out by the end of the pay period, so long as you don’t have several consecutive days of declining passengers. (This is especially important when working toward promotional earnings, which rely heavily on your ratings and the number of rides you’re completing!)

Over time, you’ll build up the experience to know which rides are appropriate to decline, but overall, drivers tend to avoid any passenger with a rating below 4.5. That saves drivers from potentially dealing with troublesome riders that could end up threatening their driver rating, but it does eat into your acceptance rating every time. It’s a stressful dance of maintaining two apparently opposing ratings, but eventually, you should get the hang of how the two work together.

The Lure of Surges and Primetime

When you’re tempted by the lure of surges and primetime, here’s the long and short of it: don’t. As a new, promotion-seeking driver, you need to be especially careful about wasted time. If you need to stay online for fifty hours, and you waste three or four a day chasing unreliable surge zones, you’re going to end up as disappointed as I was. Typically these zones will disappear long before you reach them, potentially leading you well out of your way for absolutely no benefit at all. Remember that every single driver in your area can see these zones, and the majority of them are going to flock to that location, so if you’re more than five minutes away from a sudden surge or hot zone, you’re better off ignoring it.

This is a pretty solid piece of advice – which I didn’t listen to until I’d already made that mistake a number of times myself. If you happen to be in the middle of a surge-area when it starts or prime-time is right where you are, take advantage, but don’t chase it! On the contrary, hold out to be one of the few who stays put. You might actually find yourself with an abundance of rides given up by those who decided to get out of range to chase the surge somewhere else.

Uber Lyft Driver Vetting

The Rideshare Vetting Process: How Uber and Lyft Screen Drivers

As Uber and Lyft continues to grow and become more accepted as an alternative to cabs or carpooling, an important question arises: how can Uber and Lyft screen their drivers to ensure safety in a cost-effective way? When it comes to cab drivers, the screening process is often tremendously strict, but that kind of regiment is just not an efficient way to screen freelance workers.

When it comes to rideshare vetting, there are all sorts of questions and concerns that people have, and for good reason. A recent CNN investigation found that over 100 Uber drivers were accused of sexual assault in the last four years. Here’s a look at rideshare safety and how it interacts with the vetting process, as well as a comparison with taxi safety processes.

Background Checks

This is one of the main points of contention in regards to safety on the Uber and Lyft platforms. Taxi services all over the country require fingerprinting for all prospective taxis drivers; this fingerprinting allows for a level-two background check through the FBI, screening an applicant’s statewide and nationwide criminal history. Under this process, if a felony is discovered through the background check, the individual is not allowed to become a taxi driver. There are also certain restrictions on non-felony criminal offenses that may or may not be applicable, usually regarding motor vehicle-based offenses. On the other hand, Uber and Lyft both use online background checks, usually through Checkr, to manage this procedure. Until last year, Uber and Lyft would only look seven years into the past with this service, and use those past seven years to deny or accept prospective drivers. More recently, in response to a plethora of incidents, both companies have been rerunning background checks on drivers. These background checks have been more intensive and can go back decades.

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Proponents of the fingerprinting requirement state that it is the most useful way to accurately tell if someone has committed a felony. Only about 55 percent of court records can be accessed through online databases, and they are only visible for seven years; on the other hand, fingerprinting background checks can go all the way back to age 18, no matter how old the individual is, and covers name changes. However, those who argue that fingerprinting is not inherently safer will often reference how incomplete even federal criminal records are; in 2015, a study by the Justice Department found that more than three million unprocessed or partially processed case disposition forms existed across just 19 states. In comparison to online background checks, which generally take less than a week, a mail-based fingerprint background check can also take several weeks to complete.

Uber Lyft Fingerprinting Drivers

Fingerprinting isn’t necessarily a perfect option. After all, even if the records for FBI background checks were perfect, they wouldn’t be able to notice people who have never been caught or convicted. However, the truth is that a seven-year window is substantially smaller than the full-life offer an FBI fingerprinting background check provides. Because of this, some people do argue that it makes taxis a safer option than Uber or Lyft. However, the driver isn’t the only part of the vetting process that must be evaluated.

Uber & Lyft Car Requirements

The actual car, of course, must be considered. Taxis are required to meet an exact set of requirements that are usually established by the state, whereas Lyft and Uber each create their own set of requirements for the cars they will accept. Taxi companies also lease their company-owned cars to the drivers, whereas Uber and Lyft instead allow individuals to use their personal cars, which leads to another potential issue.

Taxi companies are able to keep a fleet of similar cars that all meet safety standards as well as other important criterions, such as those imposed by the ADA. Taxi medallions are expensive, so these companies have drivers pay a fee to use their medallion-certified cars, then allow the taxi drivers to keep the fares and tips that they receive. This allows them to ensure that all taxis are safe, functioning properly, and are reasonably well maintained.

Compare that to Lyft or Uber. Currently, there are no specific vehicle requirements that rideshare cars have to meet, so the companies set their own. Lyft establishes vehicle requirements based on the state, and Uber has a list of state-specific requirements as well as a set of overall requirements. Lyft and Uber also both have several different types of cars, ranging to encompass a wide variety of events, such as an everyday ride, a more upscale experience, and a large car able to seat more passengers. Lyft even allows you to rent a car to drive with, which is a setup that is extremely similar to taxicabs, but without such stringent requirements. Overall, this is designed to give users the highest degree of customization – but also includes dangers.

In some cities, they may also require an in-person vehicle examination, in accordance with local laws. This would seem to be a no-brainer, but the issue is, it doesn’t always work that well. In some cities, drivers have reported being required to bribe dispatchers in order to receive a car, and the taxi licensing fees are still high, although nowhere near as high as they used to be. Taxi companies can often afford to pay these fees, even as the rideshare industry changes the landscape in terms of who is hailing cabs, but for individuals, the investment into a taxi medallion is life-changing, and not always in a good way. People who paid these medallion fees ten or twenty years ago are finding themselves unable to pay off the loans they took, essentially putting themselves out of a job.


Driver and passenger ratings are extremely important for ridesharing apps, and they are used as a form of safety policing in Uber and Lyft. Because ridesharing exists in an app that has a one-to-five-star system built into it, drivers and passengers are able to rate each other as soon as they complete the ride, and in many cases, they can leave a comment if they feel it’s necessary. This helps the companies to not only keep an easy eye on drivers who consistently receive low ratings, but also to ensure that passengers are not a danger to the driver either. Unfortunately, the system is not unflawed.

To create an overall driver rating, Lyft uses the last 100 ratings, while Uber uses up to the last 500. Both use average driver ratings in your area as a baseline, and consider drivers to be doing poorly when their rating drops below what’s typical for others around them. Neither company will pair a driver and passenger together again if they rate each other three stars or lower. In addition, if one party does give the other a low rating, they are able to comment on why they did so, sometimes reporting a serious problem that the company needs to address — whether they felt unsafe, the other party did something suspicious, or they feel as though the quality or safety standards are not being met. This allows the company to do something about the problem instantly. This is done for every single ride, giving the rideshare apps the ability to determine if their drivers are being kind, courteous, and safe on every pick-up.

Taxis, on the other hand, do not generally have this system. There are some taxi companies that operate within apps, but they do so in an entirely different manner from rideshare apps, and there may not be the same rating or follow-up system that Lyft and Uber uses. If taxi passengers want to complain about a driver, or vice versa, there are extra steps that they have to take in order to do so. Some people don’t have the time to go online or call through an automated system, and many times, the problem is forgotten by the point where an individual does have the time. In addition, complaining about a taxi driver requires that you note the driver’s medallion number or license plate; Uber and Lyft, on the other hand, automatically link your ride rating to your driver, and maintain a history in the app.

Where Uber & Lyft Go From Here

Many people have criticized Uber and Lyft for their negligent safety screening procedures, and not without basis. There have been assaults in both Uber and Lyft cars, and these assaults have made headlines, where people have argued whether Uber and Lyft are more dangerous than taxis – or if the assaults that happened are just overhyped. Less talked about are the numerous stories of assaults and harassment by passengers against Uber or Lyft drivers. In both case, these “lesser” safety procedures are part of what allow ridesharing services to charge low prices, but they can also leave riders and drivers more vulnerable than their taxi counterparts.

Uber Lyft Background Checks

So, where is the middle ground between extremely strict safety and accessible pricing? This is a constant battle, and one that will likely not be decided on anytime soon. Certainly, there are things that both Uber and Lyft can do to make their riders and drivers safer, but their riders will have to decide if they’re willing to pay the price. Is the risk worth the benefit? Is the cost worth the potential increase in safety? These are questions that Uber and Lyft will have to figure out this year.

What do you think Uber and Lyft can do to make their platforms safe for riders and drivers? Let us know below.