Sunday, January 26, 2014

Dear Lyft investor Jamie: Letter to Lyft Investor about unfair deactivation

A former Lyft driver shared this letter he wrote to a Lyft investor. 

Dear Jamie, 

We met in October. I gave your wife and you a ride home on a Saturday night. You mentioned you are a Lyft investor and know John Zimmer. 

I was at one time interested in the Lyft copywriting position. You asked if this position was still available and would talk to the founder of Lyft to make sure I have a fair shot to interview for this job.  

It is important to note that I took pride in being a Lyft driver. I worked hard to make every Lyft ride memorable. 

A month ago I received a Community Review flag email regarding low ratings. I brought this to the attention of several Lyft employees. Alex called me personally to discuss my concerns. He told me not to worry about the ratings and I shouldn't fear them. Based on our conversation, I started driving a nicer vehicle to do the Lyft.  

I specifically told Alex I wanted to be sure I would not have any problems with the rating system, especially since the cost to maintain this luxury and my plans to move closer to the city to do the Lyft at a greater frequency would be based on this advice.   

The Performance Department have been uncooperative and unprofessional in dealing with my situation. I worked late hours until 3-4am and drove many drunk people. The performance department allowed questionable feedbacks and ratings to remain on my driving account. 

One "1" rating was in result of Lyft charging the passenger a $5 cancellation fee. I never had an opportunity to drive this individual and I got a "1". Another drunk female passenger wrote a lengthy comment about her ride costing $10 and this pretty much cost me my job. She said nice things about me, but definitely put a nail in the coffin.  

I never did anything wrong to deserve this treatment. Some riders gave me lower ratings for talking to them. On the night I gave your wife and you a ride, a drunk female non-Lyft user (another app user called Lyft to get her a ride) vomited in the car. I missed a week of driving. 

I still remained positive and gave many rides. I returned lost items personally such as a cell phone to a couple in the Sunset District.   

This past Sunday, I couldn't log into my Lyft app to work. The performance department didn't have the decency to tell me they deactivated my account. Nancy is telling me I am no longer a Lyft driver. She had the nerve to mention and as peer-to-peer alternatives. These companies wouldn't make me nowhere near what I earned driving for Lyft.  

I have a huge paper trail as well as accurate notes to shed light on these internal issues at Lyft. I also own two premium ride sharing domains. I am a highly skilled copywriter with strong SEO skills. 

All I want is fairness because I am very frustrated with the way I was treated as a Lyft driver. 

Many Lyft drivers are inpatient and will leave passengers behind. My passengers told me this has happened numerous times, especially when they need to reach work in the morning. I've picked up riders who were left behind after these drivers only waited a minute and left.  

These scenarios could impact my ratings. Lyft wasn't being transparent with sharing positive and negative feedback. For the most part, drivers have no idea what to change. Once changes are made, it is already too late for drivers such as myself. 

Lyft drivers are afraid of this unfair rating system. They should be because I got deactivated and terminated after my score dropped from 4.82 to 4.79 after this Saturday (a week before Christmas).   

The minimum threshold was 4.80. There was a ton of traffic in the city that Saturday night because of the Santa Con and the Hobbit movie. I gave a few riders an option to cancel. I communicated on the phone with them. They kept moving around the city and wouldn't stay put. I lost 90 minutes of valuable time that night. I moved outside of downtown and got 15 rides, where my last ride ended in Oakland.  

There was one specific ride that arrived and I knew it wasn't originating from South SF. I pulled over and called the rider. Good thing I did this because they were only a mile down the street.  
As an investor, you know that drivers are a huge part of Lyft's success. Any bad driver can write bad reviews on Yelp to influence others. However, none are willing to shed light on this topic using accurate notes, feedback, and images.  

Lyft passengers hold too much power to terminate good drivers. They can say whatever they want and the Performance team will never follow-up with the driver to compare the feedback. They conceal this feedback, which is injustice to drivers.  

This business model is ineffective. I realize that Lyft will continue to grow no what how unfairly they treat their drivers. Drunk passengers don't care how they get home. They shouldn't be trusted 100% with their feedback. It is understandable to deactivate a rude and unprofessional driver. I'm confident I was a great driver, which many passengers have shared with me. They told me many times I gave them the most memorable transit experience ever. 

I know how the entire Lyft platform works. It is unfortunate Lyft's Performance Team lack professionalism, especially Nancy. While Alex is a great employee, he made a big mistake to give me bad advice when I asked him should I worry whether I'll lose my job from the ratings. I started driving a nice luxury vehicle after we had this conversation.

Luckily I didn't move into an apartment in SF because 3 weeks later I got deactivated without warning from bogus ratings and feedback, and never received any notification until I requested it. Drunk passengers who can't hold their liquor nonetheless cost me my job.  
I thought you should know how Lyft operates. You have a right to know the truth. If you need supporting material, I have plenty of emails and text messages. I stayed in hotels every weekend to be better positioned near San Francisco. Deactivating me a week before Christmas is a cold way to treat a valuable driver who dedicated his time to make passengers feel comfortable and safe. This deactivation will definitely ruin my financial situation. I will never use or recommend Lyft's ridesharing service to anyone. 

Happy Holidays and thanks.  

Lyft driver