Now that we've told you what Lyft is and how it works, it’s time to break down the pros and cons of Lyft. Before deciding if you should use Lyft over traditional taxi services, consider these points:
- Convenience – Lyft allows you to be picked up and dropped off virtually anywhere, and at any time. You can even specify exactly where you are at a location (for example “entrance to the mall beside the fountain”) so your driver knows exactly where to go. You also know how much your ride will be before taking it. Lyft is so easy to sign up for, and very easy to use.
- Save Money – In general, Lyft rides cost less than traditional taxi services. You can also estimate your fare prior to riding, so you have a general idea of how much a ride will cost you. This is a huge improvement on taxis, where you get in and watch the meter go up and up, having no idea when it will stop. You also don’t need to worry about fumbling for cash, as the Lyft app will charge your credit card when you finish the ride. You can even add tips with the app!
- Reviews Ensure Quality Service – After each ride, the passengers and drivers review one another through the Lyft app. This two-way rating service ensures that any minor issues you have can be addressed, either as a passenger or a driver. It also makes the service safer overall, because it makes both parties accountable for their actions while using Lyft.
If you get a driver who’s trying to break the land speed record for a trip from Times Square to the Statue of Liberty, or an inebriated passenger who insists on rolling down the windows to exclaim to the world about how wonderful life is – Lyft knows, and will share that information with future passengers and drivers.
- Promotions and Free Rides – Lyft has ongoing promotions that enable passengers to easily get free rides. When you sign up, you immediately get $5 off your first ten rides within ten days of signing up for Lyft. You also get credits for referring your friends! Send a promo code to anyone, and when they take their first ride with Lyft, you will get more money off of future Lyft rides!
- Lack of Training – Though Lyft has a more thorough screening process than many of its competitors for the drivers that they hire (mainly because of their compulsory mentor session and 19-point inspection), the drivers still do not need to go through any formal taxi training, or possess a license any different than a regular driver.
- Comparably Small Area of Coverage – Unlike similar services, such as Uber, Lyft has a comparably small area that their drivers operate in. Lyft does operate in hundreds of cities, but they are mainly in the United States and Southeast Asia. Though this is currently a drawback, Lyft is always growing, so watch for your city to feature Lyft in the future if it doesn't right now!
- Watch How Much You’re Spending – Part of the convenience of Lyft is that your fares are automatically charged to your credit card, so you don’t need to worry about having cash on you to take the ride. However, keep in mind that, since every Lyft ride that you take is being purchased on credit, you still need to pay them all off later!
In addition, make sure that you use the fare estimator before booking a ride, keeping in mind that prices vary based on changes in route (due to construction or other issues). Ensure you watch for "Prime Time" pricing; prices can go up instantly because of the weather or the time of day, and your usual $8 ride can suddenly cost $20!
The bottom line: 8/10
Lyft is one of the many emerging independent taxi services that make improvements on the way you currently ride in taxis. The convenience of opening an app and ordering transportation at your exact location, and being dropped off in the same manner, is quickly becoming a must-have component of taxi services. Lyft even allows a more exact location to be specified, which is one major way that they are more advanced than other independent taxi services.
Lyft is also financially superior to taxi services in so many ways! You set up your credit card to pay for your rides and tips, so you never need to have anything with you to ride other than your smart phone. Lyft is also comparably less expensive than traditional taxis, and you can estimate your fare before the ride so that you are never astonished by your bill. Lyft also gives you plenty of opportunity for free rides or credits to your account; all that you have to do is spread the word!
The fact that Lyft drivers do not have formal taxi training or licensing worries many, and is a bit of a liability. Lyft’s insurance policies and their review system help with this, but it’s not quite the same as what most taxi drivers need to do to get their license. Lyft also has mentoring, which is a form of training; however, it is not very formal or extensive, with most sessions only lasting half an hour.
One main drawback of Lyft is that you can only use the app with an Android or Apple smart phone; it is not set up to operate with other kinds of smart phones or Wi-Fi-capable devices. In addition, Lyft’s area of service is quite small in comparison to those of other apps like Lyft. If you need the convenience of worldwide, international service, you would be better off considering an app like Uber.
Did you like this Lyft review and think you may want to start using the Lyft app? If so, check out our next tutorial on how to download and sign up for Lyft.