When GM invested $500 million in Lyft early this year, it was in the name of supporting Lyft’s work on driverless cars. But in the early stages of the partnership, it’s human drivers who are benefitting.
Enter: Express Drive.
This plan was announced months ago, but it looks like they are rolling it out now. With Express Drive, drivers in Chicago, Baltimore and Washington D.C. can rent cars for free, as long as they do at least 100 rides/week and don’t use the car for personal miles.
Lyft’s biggest rival, globally dominant Uber, can’t be happy to see this, as it will mean many more Lyft cars on the road than were previously possible. This program also causes drivers who drive for both Uber and Lyft to ditch Uber.
Here’s my post about another way Uber is losing to Lyft.
While Express Drive is only in 3 cities currently, Lyft says:
The amount drivers pay for the rental is tiered based on the number of rides they give per week:
This program eliminates one of the biggest barriers to entry for potential drivers in 3 cities: Having a car.
There are 6 models available, including:
Considering Express Drive rentals include insurance and maintenance, I would jump at this opportunity if I were a Lyft driver in one of these cities.
*Update July 20: Lyft is now adding Express Drive to three additional cities.
I can say as a part-time Uber/Lyft driver that 100 rides is a lot, and probably not attainable for anyone other than full-time drivers.
Uber also has a tier-based incentive for drivers to do a lot of rides. In my area they’ve been offering bonuses recently based on the amount of rides you do in a week.
Check it out:
My concern with these tiered incentives is that drivers may feel forced for financial reasons to do more rides and work more hours than is safe. If it’s the end of the week, you’re exhausted, but only 10 rides away from making a needed $150 bonus, most people would be tempted to do those rides even if they don’t feel up to it.
A safer and more equitable option would be for Uber and Lyft to do a few things:
- Give drivers a higher percentage of ride fares so that bonuses aren’t so financially crucial. Currently Uber gives drivers 75% of rides, and Lyft gives 80% of rides. More on that here.
- Offer hourly guarantees for drivers, so that they’re compensated those times they are online and available for rides, but not receiving any rides. I’m sure drivers would try to find ways to cheat this, but Uber and Lyft could also find a way to make this work.
- Offer affordable yet quality healthcare insurance to full-time drivers. Uber especially has a terrible reputation among almost everybody except its many loyal customers. As a driver and a rider, I truly feel Uber has zero care for its drivers. Uber can’t wait for the day they can replace drivers with autonomous cars, which is where we’ll be in a few years. Uber is a business, so I’m not surprised at its business-first approach, but offering health insurance to drivers would go a very long way.
Have you or someone you know taken advantage of any of these incentives to drive? I’d love to hear your thoughts!