Update: I just got rear ended by a drunk driver the other night with a passenger. After all the stress and phone calls, I've decided not to continue driving using either Lyft or Uber because their insurance actually has a large deductible, $2500 for Lyft and $1000 for Uber, so you will have to pay this amount regardless who is at fault. Be proactive and avoid the very likely situation of an accident.
I hope this article helps you decide whether you would like to drive or ride with Lyft. It takes some courage but driving someone, let alone driving itself, forces you into the moment, which is a great way to
In December of 2015, I decided to sign up to drive with Lyft. The process was similar to Uber's application but it seemed much easier in terms of responsiveness from Lyft's customer service (update: just signed up with Uber and it was extremely easy!). The application consisted of sending a few photos of insurance and such to Lyft through the phone, which was super easy. Then I met with a veteran driver, who you schedule to meet with and they give you a 15-minute breakdown of driving by showing you the app through their phone and then take your picture, etc. Then I just waited for my background check to process for about three weeks. (I had to email them that I had been waiting since it should've only taken two weeks to process, but then they were quick to respond shortly thereafter to tell me that I was now activated as a driver).
Before I ventured out onto the road, I made sure to watch the videos by Lyft on how to be a good driver and read some articles too, such as I Drive With Uber's "14 things every Uber and Lyft driver needs." My next step was to buy a
There were so many different kinds of phone mounts on Amazon.com that I spent almost a week trying to decide on a good holder. I had to do a lot of research and even did some measurements in my car and I finally found the perfect one for my 2011 Prius on Amazon.com. It is the Aikema PH11 360 Rotating Air Vent Car Mount Universal Cell Phone Holder as shown on Amazon. One of the reviews even had the same model as my car, so I knew it would be a great purchase, and it definitely has been! It's sweet because it has a twist-lock mechanism for the both the swivel joint as well as the vent clip, which ensures a steady position with the phone.
Saturday, February 6th was my first day and I decided to
Afterwards, I happily taped my temporary Lyft emblem to my windshield and turned on the app! I was a bit nervous as I was driving down the freeway from Los Angeles to Orange County to visit my family but nothing was happening for a good 30 minutes it seemed, so I turned off the app. When I decided to drive back up to LA, it was already around midnight and I knew there would be a high demand. I stocked up with some water bottles and even threw some plastic bags in the pockets of the seats for the drunk crowds.
I turned on the app and started heading to LA. After a few minutes, I heard my first da-na-na sound and pressed the screen to accept and then it started routing me to this woman who was several blocks away.
When I had arrived, I didn't see anyone and had a hard time spotting the house, since it was quite dark and the numbers of the houses were difficult to see. Then I heard the sound da-nuh. The passenger had canceled. I was pretty bummed. But then I just started to drive back toward the freeway and then another notification happened and I immediately tapped the screen to accept.
Once I reached the destination, he was waiting right on the road and I asked him if he was so-and-so and he confirmed. He had a couple things with him and I asked if he needed some trunk space and he said sure, so I helped open the trunk. As I sat back in the car, I tapped the screen to confirm arrival and then I confirmed the destination with him, and then finally started driving. I asked him if he had just come from a party and what he did for a living. He was really nice and we had a great conversation about school and career choices.
Once we reached his house, I helped him with the trunk and he asked me if I had $10, and I said yeah, then
It was not until I got back into the car and then tapped the screen to confirm drop off and rated him 5 stars that it really sank in that he gave me a $10 tip. I was so happy! After that ride, I felt very accomplished and confident for my next ride.
Then I started driving back again toward the freeway and I got a good 10 miles north before I received another notification. My next passenger was a younger teenager who was just getting off work and he was heading almost 15 miles north so I was super excited because we were going the same direction. We had an awesome conversation about family and career choices as well. Then I had another guy who was getting off a late shift from the hospital and as I tried to have a conversation with him, he just stayed quiet.
I figured he was really tired so I didn't engage with him much. After that ride, I was still in Orange County and it was almost 2am. I was starting to get sleepy so I decided to turn off the app until I got close to Los Angeles. Once I was close to LA, I turned the app back on and I was directed to Downtown, where I picked up a couple who were heading west near my apartment so I was excited because I could end my night right after dropping them off. They were really nice to talk to as we discussed careers, and even a little yoga since the woman was an instructor.
Once I dropped them off, I just turned off the app and started heading home.
The following day I received this summary:
This equates to about $44/hour! However, if you
which was 3 hours for that day, the net total is a little less than $15/hour. The following day, I drove 15 people during a span of 6 hours and 54 minutes from 3pm until 8pm and then 11pm until midnight. Here are the earnings:
This is about $37/hour while I had passengers but if you include the downtime,
I've driven for a little over a month now and that's basically the most I will make on a given day unless there's a special occasion. Some days I will make less and some days more. However, Lyft is currently providing this 20% bonus if you give 75 rides (and also 25 peak hour rides which is during the hours with the highest demand) that week so it definitely helps to balance out the time wasted during downtime. Also, keep in mind that your car will accumulate mileage, but if you have an efficient car like a Prius, it should not be too taxing.
If you encounter a hectic week, you will earn more, for example, President Obama was in town from February 11th to February 12th, then the LA Marathon and Valentine's Day was on the 14th and finally, the 15th was President's Day holiday. Expect huge demands and earnings during holidays. This was my total earnings for that week:
Again, the pay is only about $20/hour, which increases to about $24/hour with the bonus. It's all about the volume I guess.
Also, the sense of independence is definitely there since you can take a break whenever by switching off the app. Overall, it is really fun and a little addicting. You start off with tons of energy and then as the time passes, you may start to feel exhausted, but you really have a great time with different types of personalities and stories. Actually when you are constantly busy,
You simply enjoy your time driving others.
The reason you will get lots of downtime sometimes, especially in Los Angeles, is because some passengers will want to go a far distance and once you drop them off, you might receive requests from that new area and stay localized there until you turn off driver mode and drive back to your original area. You really have to
You can choose to cancel however, if the passenger's destination is out of your way; however, this will affect your acceptance rate, which is how often you accept people's requests. If you are below 90% by the end of the week, you won't be able to receive any bonus for that week. Since I started,
I've received. Yeah, I've been to Calabasus and even to Orange County, but seeing different parts of Los Angeles and making the long drives to OC, makes for a great conversation and you also make more money. One time I dropped off a passenger in OC, but it was quite enjoyable as we listened to her music and talked about life. Afterwards, I decided to go see my parents, who were 10 minutes away, so sometimes it works out. I think that is part of the fun factor, in that
if you go with the flow and accept each request.
Before I get to the advice, I would like to share some funny stories with you. I'll try to go in chronological order. So remember the article that I referenced above about the advice on how to be a good driver, well, that blogger was right, in that
I wanted to get one but I thought that it wasn't essential since the radio is fun enough, at least for me. But then I picked up these two women in Hollywood and they asked me if I had an Aux cable, and that's when I thought to myself, you should've listened to that blogger. Well I ended up blasting the radio for them as best I could but I could tell they were not really enjoying it, especially when there would be commercials. It was a little uncomfortable but I just went along with it. Right after that ride, I immediately went to Target to buy a $7 Aux cable. It's really cheap and is totally worth the investment if you do drive for Lyft and/or Uber because the
Another story I had was when I was picking up a man from near an alley and he seemed a little shady. He wanted to stop by the liquor store and was just directing me where to go and we ended up taking this residential route and it was a little dark. There was this car in front of me driving a little slow and
At that point, I just sighed and said to myself, if it happens, it happens, just be present. We ended up reaching the store and he asked me if I wanted anything kindly, so I said water would be nice. He ends up coming back with a
for me and I was so thankful. He even gave me advice on how to protect myself from robbers by carrying pepper spray with me (I still don't carry one since I think it's a little excessive since the passenger's information is on file). After the ride, I felt relieved but also humbled by the turn of events. It's really cool when your passengers get you things, like some of my other passengers bought me food at a drive-thru several times.
My next story brings us to USC, which is probably the most
Well, when I was close to the arrival point for a passenger, there were a ton of people and stopped traffic, and to top it off, there were cops everywhere. I wanted to make an illegal U-turn at one point because the arrival spot was on my left but I was in the right lane stuck in traffic. I was about to make the turn when all of a sudden a police car spotted me, so I just moved back to the lane and patiently waited. Finally, I arrived at the sidewalk where the drop-pin was, but
or more, but each time would go to voicemail. It also didn't help that the profile picture was blank but it did have the name of the guy at least. I parked in a little driveway where the pin was, hoping a cop wouldn't tell me to move as hoards of people were walking by me. I got out of my car and was asking people, who were waiting along the sidewalk, if they were the passenger but no luck, so I just waited back in my car. I had never left a passenger before and I kept on telling myself that I will find them even if I have to wait for a while. Suddenly, a guy hops into my car and I ask him if he's the passenger and he just says
I had a hunch that he wasn't the passenger as he looked worried and aggressive, and couldn't confirm anything. I told him that I didn't believe he was the passenger so I told him to
He then jumps out of the car. I then see him outside and his girlfriend is yelling at him. I debated whether reporting him but then decided against it and to just continue on with trying to find the passenger. I was on the verge of just cancelling the ride and emailing Lyft for a no-show, but out of sheer luck, I asked this group in front of my car if they were so-and-so and they responded ecstatically, "yes!" They were a group of three, and the
so when we started charging it, his profile appeared and we all were relieved. They had walked back into the arena to try to find a charger but had no luck. We all couldn't believe we found each other. I told all of them how determined I was in finding them, and said,
I also told them about the guy who jumped into my car and they couldn't believe it. This ride was a crazy ordeal, but thankfully, it worked out in the end.
I didn't want to tell them anything because they were only like 10 minutes away, but boy, was it uncomfortable. I even tried to interrupt them with "we're about 5 minutes away now," but nope, they just couldn't wait. I just told myself that as long as they don't do anything crazy, then I'm fine,
(3 star ratings or less will never pair you with the same passenger again). When I dropped them off, the guy's shirt was almost unbuttoned all the way down. Hopefully I don't encounter that again.
Another time, I was
once I was near him. After driving up the narrow, winding road for 20 minutes to the top of the hill, I reach two guys amongst crowds of people alongside the road and they wave me down and
We all didn't have an internet connection so I couldn't confirm their destination so we all decided to drive down until it reconnected to see the destination route. About 10 minutes down the road, I get a phone call,
I realized that I picked up the wrong passengers, and so we were all stressed out because he thought he was getting charged and I suggested that we go back but the people in my car were telling me to cancel. At that point, it was just best to
I felt bad during the ride because the original passenger must've been waiting for a while, but once I dropped off the two passengers, I immediately
The next day, we were both cleared of any fees, but the experience was stressful. The loss of connection was really annoying and the fact that the two guys said yes to the wrong name kind of bothered me at the time. Next time, with internet down, it's best to ask their name.
Finally, to finish my stories, I was driving in the morning and a
in my car but I had not noticed until I got home. When I saw the keys in the backseat, tucked away in the crevice of the seat, I sent Lyft an email and they said they'll try contacting the passengers but I was 99% sure that they belonged to the last passenger I had. So,
to where I had dropped him off and then I had to ask the valet desk if they could help me find the guy. All I had was his first name that I luckily remembered on the Lyft app and then they helped me find him in their database, but since the company was so large, they could only send instant messaging emails.
because I was planning to go to Orange County and I didn't want to take the keys with me since they looked like house keys, but I also didn't want to leave the keys with the valet because I was not 100% sure they were that passenger's because I also had another passenger before him, and there was a tiny chance that they were his instead. So,
from both Lyft and the passenger and it was now the evening. I ended up just going to Orange County and hoping that the next day, I would get a call.
so I emailed Lyft and they just had me ship the keys to them for safekeeping. It's really weird though because if I lost my keys, I would be very stressed and doing everything that I could to find them. I guess it bothered me because I had been safeguarding the keys in my car for a week and was worrying for no reason, it seems.
With that being said, as for advice, you have to make sure you
However, it is difficult sometimes though when you do Lyft Line, which pairs you with many passengers along your route, or if you have a busy night and requests are non-stop. As for doing Lyft Line, new requests will automatically update your route so don't worry, just follow the directions on the screen. If you pick someone up on a Line,
just confirm your passenger's arrival and start driving to their destination. Lyft updated it where if someone appears along the way, they will automatically be added to your "queue" or passenger list, and you'll just follow the screen to start navigating to them. If your first passenger chose Lyft Line and it's just them in your queue, then confirm with them that they know that if another passenger appears along the way, you will have to pick them up. During busy times, this may make the route take longer so just let them be aware of that.
option and so they would have to cancel and they would make a new request for regular Lyft and you should be the closest driver since they would be in your car.
I think for all the advice I give, just use your best judgment and it will work out in the end.
Before you start driving, make sure your car has gas and pump it before you turn on driver mode.
is a great app to find the nearest, cheapest gas station around. Also, make sure your car is in full maintenance, such as oil and tire pressure. It's also nice to have a big meal before starting to drive if you plan to drive for a while because when you are in the groove of picking up passengers, you do not want to be hungry because you lose focus and get "hangry." Keep snacks, like
in a concealed space in your car for emergencies when you get hungry, and also have your
with you. Also, if you are providing water bottles, I've learned the error of buying the regular 16oz water bottle because some passengers tend to just sip a bit and leave the rest with you. The smaller 8oz water bottles are better because they are smaller and a little more eco-friendly, and if the passenger only drinks a little bit, it won't waste as much plastic and water. However, I believe that we need to stop using as much plastic as we can, especially single-use water bottles and bags, so I do not support the use of plastic bottles but I do hope we can find alternatives. Also, ask your passenger if they would like to listen to some music and if yes, which radio station they would prefer.
The older crowds tend to like their peace and quiet. Usually two or more people will want to use the Aux cable, but sometimes, even a single passenger, would enjoy using your sound system. If I see my passenger with their ear buds on, I always ask them if they want to use the Aux cable. It's always much more fun to listen to people's music and be a part of their world during the ride.
If you wait for your app to load to show you the navigation, you will have most likely passed the exit and the route becomes longer, leaving both you and the passenger upset. Lyft recently promoted that all riders should switch to Waze navigation so maybe they fixed this lag time, but I always encountered this problem on Google Maps. Yet,
and more reliable than Waze most of the time; however, I have not been driving since March 20th due to a broken collarbone so I am not sure about the new updates with Waze. When picking up or dropping off passengers,
If you cannot find them, wait for a couple minutes and then give them a call.
Another issue you may face is
and you start driving your passenger and then drop them off. Then you'll realize that you forgot to confirm when you first picked them up and it will still say confirm arrival on your screen and when you press next, it will say confirm drop-off and when you touch that, it will say something like you have to travel some distance. This is because you confirmed both arrival and drop-off at the same location as if you hadn't gone anywhere, and if you keep trying to tap drop-off, it will keep telling you the same message, that you need to travel some distance. When I first encountered this, I was like, well there goes my money. But i didn't give up. At least for the iPhone, I discovered that if you
it will work. When you tap confirm drop-off, it will now let you through and will show you the amount you made and rate the passenger. This messy situation can happen when the passenger doesn't have an address put into the destination and suggests you follow their own verbal directions. This is fine but just remember to confirm arrival first and then just follow where the passenger tells you to go. If you forget, don't worry, just do what I described above, and toggle the navigation and Lyft app and it should work. Thank goodness for GPS tracking!
Also, when the
like on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, beware that your navigation does not take you to the freeway, such as the PCH, which is a hassle to U-turn on back to Ocean Avenue, which happened to me. Also, I had one passenger in Marina Del Rey where I was on the freeway and Google Maps was saying that I had arrived. I pulled over the next exit and immediately called the passenger. She told me she had called two other drivers but they couldn't find her either and she was frustrated, but I told her just give me a second as I looked at her destination. In the Lyft app, it showed the business name, like TCA or something, and when I
I discovered a building outline and it said TCA. That's when I realized where she was, and so I just followed roads that connected to the business and eventually found her. She was so grateful and I was like, booyah! The switch from Lyft to Google Maps at least, can cause errors like this (not sure about Waze). Next time, to avoid this delay, just zoom in on the Lyft app to see the accurate location of the passenger, then navigate accordingly keeping in mind that once you near the destination, you will need to improvise and follow the roads that lead to the drop-pin. Also, when picking up and dropping off passengers, be aware that the drop-pin may be in their alleyway or around the corner from their destination.
at least for Google Maps. This is like the situation above so just zoom in on the Lyft app, or whichever navigation you are using to see the precise location and street name so it matches what is on the Lyft pick up address. When navigating, always look at the road outline, rather than relying on the voice of the GPS telling you to turn because you may turn too early. If your passenger's address is on a street name X but Google Maps is taking you to street Y, just zoom in and see where the actual street is that matches your passenger's address so that you just remember to take the street before or after to
If you already have the passenger, just kindly let them know when you are close to the destination so that they can direct you if they know their destination area.
Another thing is,
or if they would like to verbally tell you a specific route. This saves them time and they will appreciate it.
because I had one guy take me through with his transponder but a couple weeks later I received a
and Lyft could not reconnect me with the guy, but since this was my first incident, Lyft just paid it for me (though I had to fight for it a bit). For future reference, Lyft has a page about this type of stuff: "Toll Information for Drivers". Also, at the beginning of the ride, you can
Also, if the passenger doesn't want to talk, don't force it. If they are on their phones, just be respectful and maybe play some nice music but at a low volume. You have to be in the moment and read their body language to set the mood for a comfortable ride. Just imagine if you were the passenger back there and how you would feel.
fasten their seat-belts and close the door for them. Also, help people open your trunk if they need space and just out of pure courtesy,
Make sure to freshen it up with any deodorizer, like Febreeze, because a bad smell will make the ride uncomfortable for the passenger.
When I drive at LAX airport, I just take the placard out from my glove compartment and display it on my dashboard.
Just get into your very left lane as you enter the departure level and the bridges are on the left, just read the signs because there are two bridges: the first to 7 and 8 I believe and the second bridge is to 5 and 6, but luckily if you take the wrong one, the passenger doesn't have to walk very far and you just saved them valuable minutes anyway. Oh and if you're not in driver mode with Lyft or Uber and you are picking up someone like a friend or relative from downstairs
or displays because the cops are waiting for you down there. They will give you a citation because it will seem you are illegally trying to pick up a passenger at Arrivals with your emblems.
Just let it go and focus on being safe and efficient. If there is traffic in front of you and you are free to change lanes, please do so for the passenger's sake, so they don't think you are just making the ride longer to make more money.
Just because other drivers don't, doesn't mean you shouldn't. Remember, safety first. Sometimes, we want to just have a good conversation with the passenger but we forget the most important thing, which is getting the passenger to their destination safely and in the shortest time possible. Missing a turn because you blanked out or was lost in conversation may result in a bad rating for you, so just
but do give your attention to your passenger occasionally. Relaxation is key, if you are relaxed, everyone will have a good time.
If you are tired, take a break and turn off driver mode because if you are irritated because your bottom hurts or simply just tired, this will affect how your passenger feels and will affect your rating. Having two
for your side-view mirrors is essential in LA. Not only do you make safer turns, but you make them more efficiently, which is only a plus for your passenger, rating and tip, and they cost like $3 each. Driving safely is the biggest concern because in LA at least, there are just so many drivers (bad ones too!) that you really need to be focused. Sometimes, the navigation will tell you to make an unprotected left onto a two-way street, and sometimes, that just isn't possible.
because they might know safer routes to avoid these situations. If you are stuck in that dilemma with no turning back however, just take your time and relax. Your passenger will understand. And if you ever have issues with anything, Lyft's email support is pretty responsive, especially for urgent issues.
Having a good conversation is probably the best part of driving with Lyft because you are able to
and share unique stories and ideas. When you are able to positively influence someone whether it be talking about how to overcome a hardship in life or just have a laugh, you discover your true relationship with others, in that you both are alive at that moment and are able to
Whether it be a bad or good experience, you are able to meet many people from different backgrounds who each have something special to teach you.
for you to be aware of, and that is why driving for Lyft is so cool.
Also, Lyft gives you good perks like after 100 rides and with a good rating, you'll be able to get the
to help riders see you at night. Also, when you reach 1000 rides you'll be able to get a zipper sweater.
I have maintained a
ever since I started out and that is because I treat every passenger with my utmost respect, and always put them first. If you approach driving with Lyft this way, and with life in general, you will be surprised at how things will work in your favor. Being able to get
from the passengers truly makes my day and shows how your joviality affects others. Here is the feedback I have received so far:
After driving over 500 passengers with Lyft in a little more than a month, I found myself in an sudden emergency and had to use their service, but as a passenger instead. About two weeks ago, I
in a motorcycle accident, where I lost control on a turn literally a block down my street. I gave it too much gas and was leaning too much and the next thing I knew, I felt my body jerk into the air and I landed hard on my left shoulder. It all happened so fast. This is called a
It is a violent phenomenon and was very excruciating in the aftermath. I was face flat on the road (thank goodness for my helmet) and as I slowly pushed myself up with my right arm, I found it difficult lifting my left arm up and I knew I broke something. Luckily, there were other people who pulled over the road to help me. With the help of another man, I lifted the bike up and rolled it over to the side of the road. There was this one woman who stuck around to help me as she was beside me when it happened and she even helped me take off my backpack, helmet and gloves. She asked if I needed a ride to the hospital but I said I would just take a Lyft there. So I requested a Lyft and the woman waited until the Lyft driver came.
My Lyft driver was considerate but I noticed how he didn't have a phone mount and was holding the phone in his hand. I didn't say anything since I was in pain and we were already near the hospital. When I got off, I tipped my Lyft driver $5 anyways because I was grateful for any little help at that moment.
After my hospital visit, with arm in a sling, I requested another Lyft driver. I told him what had happened and he was very kind. He seemed like a strong guy, so
which was right around the corner where the accident occurred, and he gladly helped. I was so thankful to be able to have someone help me at that moment.
and graciously thanked him. He was such a nice guy. As both a driver and a passenger, I can say that Lyft is such a life-saver. Ridesharing services like
For example, when I drove a few people who had broken their leg or torn their ACL, I felt really great being able to help them get around. Now, to be in their shoes, I really appreciate this mode of transportation that both Uber and Lyft offer and I am very grateful, especially for the driver who helped me push the motorcycle.
Whether you choose to drive or not, with Lyft and Uber, just know that you can always use their service as a passenger and it's so easy! Also, you'll find that there are good people out there. Much blessings to all those who helped me during the accident. For me, driving with Lyft won't make you rich material wise, but it will make you wealthy in terms of life experiences and connections with your fellow human beings. For me,
Also, if you are a college student, it's great money and experience on the side. I haven't signed up for Uber yet, but I will soon since you can do both (update: Just signed up and I like Uber a lot! It seems that I get more passengers with Uber).
If you are willing to give Lyft a try, please use
when applying and enter it in the Promo/Referral Code section and
if you complete a certain amount of rides (10 for Los Angeles in 10 days or 30 for Orange County) within a month (I do almost 100 rides per week, so it is definitely attainable).
and will last for 14 days but you must enter my code in their Promo/Referral Code section right before you request your first ride to receive the credit. If you know someone who is also new to Lyft, they can use the code as well. This is only for a limited time and I will update this if anything changes.
One last comment I would like to make is that Lyft and Uber may promote more driving in general and thus have an impact on the environment but I hope that the movement toward all-electric vehicles and the use of solar power can offset any harm to the environment. I can't wait to get a Model 3 Tesla! However, they are testing those driverless cars out, as described in this Gizmodo article.
Please see my post " Being Yourself is the First Step" to help improve all aspects of your life with a simple observation.