Uber may be dominating the transportation-technology space, but Lyft is hustling hard.
As Uber and Lyft both try to expand their transportation networks as rapidly as possible, drivers are a hot commodity. Expansion is constrained by the availability of drivers, and so treating drivers well is not only a feel-good proposition, but a savvy expansion strategy.
"We want to make sure that everything we do as a company enforces that we treat you better than anyone else," said Lyft co-founder John Zimmer, speaking today to a crowd of Lyft drivers at the company’s San Francisco headquarters. "We care about you, but for investors, it's simple: it's the best business decision."
The company announced a handful of product announcements aimed at wooing drivers.
First, there’s a partnership with car-rental giant Hertz which will allow Lyft drivers to rent cars at “special affordable daily, weekly, and monthly rates.” That means that if your car is unavailable on a particular day or you don’t have a car, you can still earn money driving passengers around on Lyft.
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The Hertz-Lyft partnership has been in beta in Las Vegas and will launch to other cities across the country soon.
Second, the ridesharing company known for its pink-mustache logo announced a partnership with Shell that gives drivers a discount on gas at any of the 12,500 Shell gas stations in the U.S. The more a driver logs on the road on the Lyft platform, the bigger the discount. Savings can range from a few cents off each gallon to multiple free tanks of gas per week.
And finally, Lyft announced a new product called “Express Pay” which will give drivers the ability to deposit their earnings directly to their bank accounts whenever they want, instead of waiting for a weekly deposit as has been the norm until now. Once a driver has made $50 in earnings, a button on the Lyft app will transfer those earnings to the driver’s bank account for a flat 50-cent charge.
Also as part of the presentation today, Lyft announced that it had thus far distributed $40 million in tips to drivers. This is a selling point for Lyft in attracting drivers because other ridesharing platforms, like Uber, don’t make it possible for passengers to tip within the app.