Tuesday, July 01, 2014

New Lyft drivers: 25 things to consider

New to the Lyft community? Lyft is spreading its influence across the borders. You can probably request a Lyft ride in most of the larger cities. However, local policy restrictions in several cities have delayed ridesharing. In any case, ridesharing may soon get a green light to operate legally in restricted areas without issuing fines to drivers and sending cease & desist letters accompanied with threats and fines as a part of a sweeping campaign to discourage sharing personal vehicle to make income. New Lyft drivers must be very careful driving for this ridesharing company.

The Performance Review Department monitor all driving accounts. They pay special attention to ratings, feedback and complaints. Such complaints are measured up against the 4 flags shown in daily and weekly driver's summaries and last 100 ratings.  For the most part, Performance Review place heavy emphasis on ratings and will deactivate accounts that fail to increase their ratings above the community standards.

If new drivers somehow score under a 4.80 on their first 25 rides, they may likely receive a Community Flag Review from Lyft. Keep in mind that this represents the first warning flag. The Performance Review Team give drivers three chances, although the third chance is actually a deactivation.

The next Community Review Flag is saved for the 100th ride. A Lyft driver may have improved their rating from the first 25 rides (4.5) to a much better rating on the 100th ride (4.77). However, a driver who falls a few points shy of 4.80 is again hit with a Community Review Flag. They are warned that another flag is their last, so account deactivation is certain to happen. At this point, the ridesharing game then becomes worrisome.

Drivers find it hard to focus on providing great service because the next rider may give them a "1" star to deactivate them. The Performance Review Team will never follow-up with drivers about a specific complaint where a rider made up lies to hurt another driver just because it is fun and games for them. Whatever the rider writes will be accepted as a point against you. No phone interviews are taken like SideCar does between the rider and the driver to verify such claims.

Make sure you understand how the Lyft ridesharing app works. If you haven't already taken a Lyft ride, request a pickup to see how the driver operates. As a driver, you may not see how a Lyft works from accepting a ride to navigating to the rider until you take the road.
  1. Watch all Lyft videos to see their ridesharing app in action. 
  2. Keep the trunk clean. Airport riders attempting to put their luggage in the trunk may give low rating for uncleanliness. 
  3. Use Google Maps and/or Waze. Avoid Apple Maps. 
  4. Don't try to talk with an antisocial rider. Get the hint once you sense their unwillingness to have a conversation. An unfriendliness flag may get triggered for complaints regarding too much talking and/or not enough chatting. 
  5. Keep the interior and exterior clean. Wash your car often and save these receipts. Clean the interior and make sure they smell better than a taxi. Use a mild air freshener since some riders may have allergies. 
  6. Don't wear excessive cologne or perfumes for the same reason above. 
  7. If you make a navigation mistake, apologize to the rider and tell them that you will shut the app down a few blocks from their destination. If Lyft has changed their policies, you can tell the rider you will contact support to adjust the route to reflect the cost without the detour. 
  8. Don't run red lights or attempt to make longer yellow lights. 
  9. Don't go down 1-way streets, even if you do it for one second and turn around. Your riders won't forgive this mistake. You can apologize all you want and your rider will submit a low rating. 
  10. Don't argue with any riders. If conflict arises, just do your best to be professional. 
  11. Drive especially careful when it rains. The road are slick and can present a danger to drivers. No speeding. No sharp turns. No following too close. 
  12. Keep an eye on jaywalkers and bicyclists to reduce accidents. 
  13. Don't expect transit drivers to give you the right away. Just be courteous and let them go first. 
  14. No waiting in bus zones for riders who want these pickups. Avoid them for parking ticket reasons. Ticket can cost you $270. 
  15. Request if your rider wants to take a specific route. Don't see how this helps since many riders are in a hurry and want to take off immediately. It is something Lyft shares with their drivers. 
  16. Don't complain about why you are driving for Lyft such as bills, life, student loans and hard to find work. Be positive as if you value Lyft and enjoy lyfting around for fun. Mention the financial aspect is a reward to drive cool people. Riders want a positive atmosphere. 
  17. Never mention that you need a 5 star rating. Do share that ratings are important to keep drivers on the road. If any driver falls below a minimum community rating, they will get deactivated (fired or terminated). 
  18. Speak positive about Lyft. Don't tell your riders you dislike Lyft and their poor system. 
  19. Greet your riders with a smile, a fist-bump and introduce yourself. Welcome them into your vehicle. Tell them to make themselves comfortable. 
  20. Don't call riders once you arrive at their pickup point. Give them a few minutes. They may feel that you're rushing them and will give you a bad rating. FYI, you can text the driver or the rider can text you. This works well in tough downtown pickups. 
  21. Respect the traffic laws. Don't do anything your rider wouldn't do. If they request you to run red lights, tell them your primary goal is to keep them safe. 
  22. Keep on the lookout for Lyft employees posing as drivers. You will know when this time arrives. Place Pink Mustache on front grill. Provide snacks and refreshments. Offer the phone charger. 
  23. Rate your tough riders accurately. Don't worry if they have a 5 star. The worst Lyft passengers have 5 stars, whereas the better riders have lower ratings. A 4.5 passenger can have a far better attitude than a 5 rider. If this ride was an uncomfortable experience, rate them this way. Protect your fellow Lyft drivers from transporting poor riders. 
  24. Share any concerns you have with support. Don't trust their advice because they have given terrible information and refuse to back you up when an account deactivation takes place. 
  25. Don't think Lyft can last forever. Look ahead to better opportunities. If Lyft wants to maintain their driving community, they wouldn't keep deactivating drivers and posting ads to hire additional drivers. It is obvious you are expendable and are viewed as just a driver. A 4.95 driver in last 100 trips can easily receive poor ratings to push their score to 4.79. If this occurs, deactivation is inevitable. 
Good luck on driving for Lyft. If Lyft fails you, there are alternatives. Don't be afraid to take the road and give rides. Happy Lyfting!