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What female rideshare drivers can do to stay safe

Interview with and tips from a veteran driver. Some good tips to help protect yourself out there. 

Source: 101 Wrif

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Lyft releases standalone driver app.

Lyft has released a standalone driver app. Before, they used one app for both riders and drivers.

You can download the new app now.

Uber driver after collecting his signup bonus.

How to become a Lyft driver.

How to become a Lyft driver

Here are the basic steps, including driver and vehicle requirements, to become a Lyft driver. The approval process generally takes less than a week.  However, it can take up to a month.  Lyft offers a sign up bonus if you use a Lyft driver invite code. Visit our Lyft sign up bonus page for information on the types of bonuses Lyft is currently offering. If you would like to use our signup code, our Lyft referral code is ridesharecentral.

Driving for Lyft.

How to become a Lyft driver: How Lyft works

Riders request a ride through the Lyft app. The closest available driver gets the call. On each ride, Lyft takes a booking fee ($1-$2 generally) + 25% of the fare. Lyft offers cash bonuses if you complete a certain number of rides in a week. These bonuses can add $100 to $350 per week to your regular earnings. In some markets, if you complete a certain number of rides, Lyft refunds part or all of their commission instead of giving a cash bonus.

driving for Lyft

How to become a Lyft driver: Differences between Uber and Lyft

In 2017, Uber finally added a tipping option. However, Lyft riders still seem to tip at a higher rate.

Overall, about two thirds of drivers prefer Lyft. In general, while not perfect, Lyft has a better reputation among drivers when it comes to resolving issues (fare disputes, cancellation fees, etc…).

However, most drivers also think the Uber driver app is superior. Also, although Lyft has had faster growth in 2017, Uber is still much busier than Lyft in certain markets. If your city has less than 1 million people, you may want to consider signing up for Uber first.

Lyft driver requirements (2017)

  1. You have to be 21 years old and have had a driver’s license for at least 1 year. (In some cities, your license may need to be from in-state.)
  2. You must be able to pass a criminal background check.
  3. You must have in state personal auto insurance (your must be listed as a driver on the policy) for the vehicle you will be using.  I highly recommend supplementing or replacing your personal insurance with rideshare insurance coverage. However, you don’t need rideshare insurance coverage to be approved for the Lyft platform.
  4. You must have a relatively clean driving record. (No DUI’s or reckless driving and very few moving violations over the last few years.)

Lyft vehicle requirements for (2017)

You do not need to own a vehicle to Drive With Lyft. However, if you do, these are the requirements.

  1. The vehicle must have a valid registration and a clean title. However, the vehicle does not have to be in your name.
  2. The vehicle must have four doors and a minimum of five seatbelts.
  3. The vehicle must be in good working order. Lyft requires vehicle inspections.
  4. The vehicle must be model year 2004 or newer. In some cities, the requirements are more strict. For Lyft Premiere, the requirements are also more strict, and vary by city.

The Lyft Application Process: Documentation

You’ll need to upload the following items during the application.

  1. Driver’s License
  2. Insurance Certificate
  3. Vehicle Registration

If you have those items handy, you can click the button below to start your application.

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The Lyft and Uber Application Process: Background Check

Once you’ve filled out your application and uploaded your documents, Lyft will run a DMV and criminal background check. This is the part that takes a few days. While you’re waiting for your approval, we recommend taking the following steps.

  1. Consult our Before You Drive guide for expert tips and advice on driving profitably.
  2. Browse through our Essential Products for Drivers.
  3. Visit Rideshare Central’s Insurance Marketplace to explore your rideshare insurance options.
  4. If you’re looking for a vehicle, visit our Vehicle Financing page to find the best options for purchasing or renting a vehicle for rideshare driving.


The Lyft Application Process: Approval and Vehicle Inspection

After approval, you will need to pass a vehicle inspection to get on the road.  Lyft does the inspection during the mentor session. During a mentor session, an experienced Lyft driver inspects your vehicle, teaches you how to use the driver app, and gives you final approval to get on the road.

The Lyft Application Process: Activation

After you successfully complete your mentor session/vehicle inspection, you should be able to get on the road and start making money driving for Lyft.

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How much do Lyft drivers make?

How Much do Lyft Drivers make?

I often get asked the question, “How much do Lyft drivers make?” Nationally, the average is around $15-$20 per hour, before expenses. However, there is a lot of variation from city to city. Drivers in New York and San Francisco earn more. Drivers in Houston earn less. That’s not all. Even within a city, there’s a lot of variability. I drive in Chicago, and I’ve met drivers here who make $15 per hour, and ones who make $20-25 per hour or more. In the end, how much a Lyft driver makes depends on a number of different factors including: location, experience, expertise, service, and willingness to drive the right hours.

How much do Lyft Drivers make? The Location Factor

How much you make depends on what city you’re in. I drive in Chicago, and can usually average $20 per hour or more on Lyft. If I drive a lot in a week and get one of the power bonuses, I can push it up to the $25-30 per hour range. However, I’m not going to be able to match what an experienced full time Lyft driver in Manhattan can make while driving in Chicago. It’s just not going to happen.

Last week, I didn’t drive much, but hit $23 per hour.

How much do Lyft drivers make in Chicago?

$23 per hour driving Lyft in Chicago.

How much do Lyft Drivers make? The Experience and Expertise Factor

Unless you’ve driven a delivery truck or cab in your town, you may not know your way around the city as well as you think. Studying a map can help, as can learning the address numbering system of your city, but there’s no substitute for experience. Thankfully, Waze or Google Maps can help out with navigation in the meantime. Both integrate seamlessly into the Lyft app and usually give fairly accurate time and traffic estimates. Waze also tells you where the speed traps and red light tickets are.

Over time though, you want to get to the point where you don’t need Waze or Google Maps. This process takes about 300 to 500 rides. However, even after five rides, you’ll feel a lot more comfortable as a rideshare driver. Now, this doesn’t mean you’ll never want or need to use Waze after doing 300 rides, but you’ll probably need it a lot less.

Expertise is different from experience. Experience is simply how long you’ve been driving. Expertise is how you apply your experience to make yourself a better driver. For example, the routing that the Lyft app gives drivers is not always the fastest route. The same is sometimes true of Google Maps and Waze. However, an expert driver has probably driven the Lyft suggested route, realized it’s slow, and figured out a faster, more efficient route.

Here’s a pro tip for Chicago. Learn Lower Wacker Drive like the back of your hand. None of the navigation systems suggest it, but there is no better way to get across downtown Chicago than Lower Wacker Drive. Learn the entrances and exits and on which routes Lower Wacker is useful and you will have taken your first step towards becoming an expert Lyft driver.

How much do Lyft Drivers make? The Service Factor

Good service comes into play more on Lyft than Uber, because of the tip factor. Experienced Lyft drivers know how to get around the city efficiently. They know which routes to take, and which to avoid. They even know if the Waze or Google Maps is giving a poor route.

However, the drivers that get the most tips tend to go beyond just giving an efficient, well routed ride. Giving top notch service means greeting the rider warmly when they enter, and helping with any luggage or bags. It means having phone charges and maybe an amenity like candy, or waters. One excellent driver I encountered had water, chargers, Purel, candy, and tissues available.

Offering good service also means not doing certain things. Drive efficiently, but don’t drive like a maniac. Don’t change lanes eight times in two minutes. When it comes to talking, let the  passenger lead when it comes to conversations. If the passengers isn’t talking, it’s probably because they don’t want to talk. If you say three or four things, and get nothing from the passenger but one word responses, stop talking.

The main reason to offer top quality service when driving for Lyft is that it can add an extra 10-20% to your weekly pay.

How much do Lyft Drivers make? Driving the right hours

Where I drive, in Chicago, you can make between $17 and $23 per hour before expenses, including tips, if you’re driving part time. If you drive full-time or only drive during peak hours, you can make a bit more. If you fulfill one of the weekly Power Driver Bonuses Lyft offers, you can earn even more.

How much do Lyft Drivers Make with the Power Driver Bonus?

Lyft drivers can make an extra 10% or 20% on their earnings with the power driver bonus. Basically, you have to give a certain number of rides per week, and some of those rides have to be during peak hours. In Chicago, if you give 75 rides total, and 35 are during peak hours, you get a 20% bonus.
Lyft Power Driver Bonus Chicago

Can Lyft Drivers Really Make $35 per hour?

Lyft advertises that you can make up to $35 per hour in Chicago. Is it true? Yes, it’s true, but only during certain hours. If you drive late Friday or Saturday night, you can make $35 per hour. Across a whole week, you can make $25-$30 per hour, but it requires driving during every peak demand period and giving enough rides to get the 20% Power Driver Bonus. You can’t just drive 11am-3pm four days a week, and expect to make $30, or even $20 per hour. Now, even if you drive enough to get the power bonus, and you’re efficient, you’re not guaranteed to hit $30 per hour, but you’ll probably be in the mid to high $20’s.

If you’re interested in driving for Lyft, but have questions, feel free to ask in the comments below. Also, be sure to check out my Uber and Lyft Quickstart Guide. If you’d like to sign up for Lyft, feel free to use my code, rsclyft, to get a signup bonus. The amount of the bonus varies by city and can be as much as $1,000. To see what yours is, click the “Join Lyft” button below.


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The Best Nav System for Uber and Lyft

New drivers often ask me, “What is the best navigation system for Uber?”, or “What is the best navigation system for Lyft?”  Even if you’ve lived somewhere your whole life, there are going to be parts of the city that are unfamiliar.  There are also other benefits to using a nav system, such as finding alternate routes, knowing how long the trip will take or where the speed and red light cameras are.

The best navigation systems for Uber, Lyft and other rideshare or delivery services

While there are other navigation systems (covered at the bottom), the vast majority of drivers use Google Maps, Waze or the in-app Uber navigation. If you’re on Lyft, your choices are Waze or Google Maps.  Lyft does not have an internal turn-by-turn navigation system.  All three systems offer turn-by-turn directions, trip time estimates, voice directions, and will reroute you if you make a wrong turn. None of these systems are perfect and there is no substitute for knowing your way around, but here the pros and cons of each system.

Uber in-app Navigation

Uber’s first few tries at in-app turn-by-turn navigation were failures. The suggested routes were often terrible, and the traffic and time estimates were way off. A few weeks ago, they started rolling out a new in-app navigation system, and it’s a vast improvement. While not perfect, a number of drivers who would switch over to Google Maps or Waze on every trip, are now staying within the Uber app more often.

Uber Navigation In App


  • Uncluttered interface
  • Decent time estimates (within 3-5 minutes)
  • Lane assistance


  • Route suggestions are better, but could still use some work
  • Traffic estimates are still hit and miss.


Waze was a startup that Google bought in 2013.  It uses traffic data from municipal sources, as well as data crowd sourced from people using the app.  Because of the crowdsourced data, it usually gives better traffic and time estimates during rush hour than either Google Maps or the Uber navigation.  It is the navigation app of choice for most experienced drivers.  These drivers usually don’t use the app for directions, but for the traffic and time estimates.  The app also tells you if you are over the speed limit, and where accidents, speed traps, potholes, and red light cameras are.

best nav system for Uber - Waze App Navigation Screens


  • Best time estimates (accurate to within 0-3 minutes usually)
  • Good traffic estimates (better during rush hours)
  • Speed limit, obstacle and speed trap warnings


  • Default view is zoomed in too close
  • Routing is generally good, but sometimes the app will tell you to get off the highway for one exit, then get back on, in order to save time.  Odd feature since it rarely saves time.
  • No lane assistance

Google Maps

Google Maps is the oldest of the navigation apps and probably familiar to most users.  It’s fast, reliable, and has a good interface.

Google Maps Navigation Example


  • Uncluttered interface
  • Decent time estimates
  • Lane assistance


  • Traffic and time estimates are not usually as good as Waze
  • Lacks the additional Waze features such as pothole and speed trap warnings

Which nav system should I use for Lyft or Uber?

If you are just starting out driving for Uber or Lyft, I would recommend using Google Maps at first. The only reason Google Maps gets the nod over Waze for beginners is lane assistance and the default zoom level. If you aren’t very familiar with your city, knowing which lane to be in can be enormously helpful. Also, if you have to make a turn, followed by another turn right after, it’s easier to see that on Google Maps than on Waze (because Waze is zoomed in too far). Once you are more familiar with your area, give Waze, or the internal Uber navigation, a try.  At the end of day, the three apps are pretty close in terms of capability, and the choice comes down to driver preference.

Other navigation systems that almost no drivers use.

Sygic, Navmii, and Apple Maps are three other navigation options.  You can also buy a separate navigation hardware system from Garmin or another company.  However, very few drivers choose any of these options.

The main reason is that none of them intergrate with the Uber or Lyft system.  So, if you want to use them, you have to switch out of the Uber or Lyft app and manually type in the address. With the recommended apps, it’s automatic, or you hit the “navigate” button from within the Uber or Lyft app. Also, the Sygic, Navmii and Apple Maps apps are inferior to Waze, Google Maps and the internal Uber navigation in almost every way.  They are slow (except for Apple), give poor routing information and have terrible interfaces.  Using any of these apps is an almost surefire way to get a rating below five stars.

Why do the navigation systems want me to go down alleys (the navigation alley issue)?

Anyone who’s used any of these navigation systems for a while are probably wondering why they love to send drivers down alleys. Here’s the answer. The original gps direction systems were built for delivery vehicles. Delivery vehicles often want to go to the alley, because deliveries generally happen in the alley. All of the navigation apps you use today still use some of the data from those legacy systems. That’s why the navigation apps send you down alleys. Unfortunately, none of the apps have developed a fix for this yet.

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Six Places To Find Uber and Lyft Riders During Off-Peak Hours

Man waiting for his Uber

Where To find Uber and Lyft riders during off-peak hours

After the morning rush, the number of people looking for an Uber or Lyft ride tends to drop off until lunch time. What’s a driver to do? Luckily, there’s a few place you can go when it’s slow, where you can find Uber and Lyft riders. Now, none of these suggestions are a magical ride unicorn that will allow you to always make rush hour money during off peak hours. These are just a few places to go when it’s not busy out. All of these places have one thing in common: they don’t operate on a 9 to 5 schedule.

Colleges and Universities

Google a list of the larger universities and community colleges in your area. Then, take a look at the class schedules. Note when the classes tend to start and end. You will probably notice that the first set of morning classes tend to end between 9:30 and 11:00am. This happens to be right after rush hour. So, if you drop off a passenger at around 9:45am, and there’s a college or graduate school close by, drive over and sit outside for 10 minutes.

Additionally, business school students seem to love taking Uber or Lyft. If you’re in Los Angeles, the USC Marshall School of Business is a great place to try this method. If you’re in Chicago, try this near the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Check the class schedules for both schools as many intro business school classes tend to be 3 hours, not 1. Both of these school are particularly good targets because many of the students do not live near the school. So, not only do you increase your chances to find Uber and Lyft riders, but the ride is more likely to take you to an area where you can find more rides.

Hospitals and Medical Office Centers

Hospitals and medical centers are great for two reasons. First, hospitals are open 24 hours a day and there are often nurses, doctors and orderlies who leave to go home during off-peak hours, like 3:00pm. Second, patients are discharged or leave medical appointments at all times throughout the day. Now, a person leaving a medical appointment may not be leaving the hospital, they may be leaving the medical office building right next door. However, if you’re close by, you’ll get the ride request.

The Airport

People are always leaving the airport. If you wind up dropping off near or at one, you may just want to stay. If it’s slow, but there’s not much traffic and you’re nearby, you should also consider heading to the airport.

However, this option differs from airport to airport and city to city, a lot. It really depends on how far away the airport is, what traffic is like, and how long you have to wait to get a ride back from the airport. My city has two airports, Ohare and Midway. I would consider heading to Ohare if it were slow, and I was nearby, but never Midway. Why? Midway is slower and the lot where drivers wait is in Siberia.

See, in many markets, Uber and Lyft have airport rideshare driver waiting lots. So, after a driver drops someone off, they head to the driver lot to wait for an arriving passenger to call for a ride. However, the lot has a queueing system. When a driver enters the lot, they are put in line behind all the other drivers who were already in the lot. Sometimes, the line can move pretty quickly and you get a call in 20-30 minutes. Other times, you can wait over an hour. At Midway, whatever your waiting time is, you can safely add 15-20 minutes, because that’s how long it often takes to get from the lot to the passenger.

Sorry folks, there’s no shortcut here. To figure out if you generally want to wait at the airport after dropping off passengers, or use it as a slow time destination, you just have to try it a couple of times and see if the economics work out.

The Train Stations and Bus Depots

These two options are similar to airport. People are always leaving train and bus stations. However, both have a distinct advantage over airports: no driver waiting lot. You show up, find a standing zone or other place to park, and wait for a ping. The only slight disadvantage versus airports is that rides may be shorter leaving bus or train stations. This is because bus and train stations tend to be in or near the city center, airports are usually several miles away.

Downtown area (Hotels)

During off peak daylight hours, go downtown or near it, and find a 15 minute standing zone. If there’s a cluster of hotels, or tall office buildings, get as close as possible, and pull over. See, traffic savvy business travelers often book their flights first thing in the morning, or around noon. First thing in the morning gets them to the airport before the rush, noon means they’re leaving after the rush. So, after you’re done getting people to work during the morning rush, find a 15 minute standing zone near a cluster of hotels or tall office buildings, and wait for a ping. Now, you may not get a ride to the airport, but when it’s slow, rideshare driving becomes a numbers game. The more people in close proximity to your car, the better chance you’ll get a ping.

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Before You Start Driving

What should I do before I start driving for Lyft or Uber?

If you already own a vehicle, there are only three things you should do before you start driving for Lyft or Uber:

  1. Learn your way around your city.
  2. Get a few products that will come in handy on the road.
  3. Get Rideshare Insurance.

If you don’t currently have a car, be sure to check out our Vehicle Financing section.  There, you can learn about the different lease, rental and purchase options available to rideshare drivers.

Learning your way around your city.

The number one complaint of riders, by far, is drivers who don’t know their way around. So, before picking up your first passenger, become a bit familiar with your city. Check out your city on google maps. Take note of major highways and note the streets that seem wider than average. Those streets are likely the major roads in your city. If you can, hop in the car and drive around your city for a few hours, or even a whole day. Drive around the downtown area, head to the airports(s), the train station, and a few touristy destinations.

If you want to go further, determine what the address numbering system is for your city (google it) and learn it. That way, when someone is going to 600 North Main Street, you’ll know the general direction you’re going. Finally, if you haven’t already, you should take a short Lyft and Uber ride. That way, you’ll be familiar with what the rider experiences before you start doing pickups.
Driver in Front Seat - Rideshare Central

Products every Uber and Lyft driver should have.

The must have list is short. You’re going to want a good phone holder, a roll of paper towels, clorox wipes, a couple of plastic bags, and if you plan on driving weekend nights, vomit bags. Now, you probably will not need the last four items. I’ve been a rideshare driver since 2014, and haven’t needed those items. But if you are ever in a situtation where you do need them, you don’t want to be without them.

The should, or could have, list is longer. It really comes down to personal choice. You may want to consider a usb hub, an android charger, an iphone charger, some armor all type wipes, all weather floor mats, a tire pressure gauge, and possibly, some waters. For a complete list of products you should consider browsing through our Essential Products For Drivers.

Every driver should consider purchasing rideshare insurance.

For more information on rideshare insurance, please visit our Rideshare Insurance Marketplace, where you can find information on the types of rideshare insurance offered in your state.

Looking For The Best Rideshare Company To Sign Up With?

Sign up to drive with Lyft today and get a sign up bonus.

With Lyft, you can sign up to drive even if you don’t have a car!