Lyft Review

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:

Pros

  • 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!

Cons

  • 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. 


How Much Does Lyft Cost?

When you sit down in the seat of a taxi, it’s always a big question as to how much this ride is going to cost you. With Lyft, you don’t need to worry about that, as the price of your ride can be estimated before you accept it. Prices can vary based on what city you are using Lyft in, how far away your destination is, and how long it takes for your driver to get you to your destination. The price also differs based on which Lyft service you choose, and only certain options will be available in certain cities. Check out our tutorial on how to use Lyft to learn the differences between these services, as well as how to use the Lyft fare calculator.

How Lyft’s prices work

The average Lyft fare costs about $18 U.S., based on the average pay of Lyft drivers in 2015. However, this can vary based on the length and distance of your trip, as well as what Lyft service you use.  If, for example, you only use the least expensive Lyft service, then your fares will likely be closer to $10.

In addition, you may incur extra fees if your driver has to pay for driving on toll roads, picking you up or dropping you off at the airport, or finding a parking spot. There are also special circumstances that add additional fees, such as a trip between New York and New Jersey (which entails a $15 fee). For a complete breakdown of fees, make sure to visit your city’s page on Lyft’s website here.

Also beware of Lyft “Prime Time” pricing; this raises the price of your trip by a percentage when there is a high demand for Lyft rides, but a low quantity of Lyft drivers on the road. See our explanation on “Prime Time” pricing below for more details about this.

How much is Lyft per mile?

The cost of a Lyft ride varies based on which city you are in, and each aspect of the fee structure can differ. For examples, look at the rates for these cities below to see what your fees will be based on a standard Lyft ride. The rates are as follows (base fare includes service charges):

  • San Francisco, CA: $3.65 base fare, $0.23/minute time cost, $1.16/mile distance cost, $5 minimum fare, $5 cancellation fee.
     
  • New York City, NY: $2.50 base fare, $0.35/minute time cost, $1.79/mile distance cost, $8 minimum fare, $10 cancellation fee.
     
  • Miami, FL: $2.75 base fare, $0.13/minute time cost, $0.85/mile distance cost, $3.90 minimum fare, $5 cancellation fee.
     
  • Grand Rapids, MI: $2.55 base fare, $0.15/minute time cost, $0.76/mile distance cost, $4 minimum fare, $5 cancellation fee.
     
  • Austin, TX: $2.55 base fare, $0.12/minute time cost, $1.02/mile distance cost, $4.50 minimum fare, $5 cancellation fee.
     
  • Denver, CO: $2.45 base fare, $0.12/minute time cost, $1.01/mile distance cost, $5 minimum fare, $5 cancellation fee.

More densely-populated cities tend to have higher fares, whereas smaller cities are generally cheaper to use Lyft in.  You can check what the fares for your area will be by visiting the Lyft calculator online, or use the calculator function in your Lyft app. Tap the name of the area closest to you to see the fare breakdown, or tap Estimate Fare and then enter your starting point and destination.

Note that these fees are always changing so that Lyft can stay competitive in its industry. For the most accurate estimation of what your Lyft ride will cost, always use the fare estimator prior to ordering your Lyft ride.

Is Lyft cheaper than a taxi?

Lyft is usually cheaper than taking a traditional taxi, by up to 40% in most cases.  However, in other cases, Lyft fares can be almost double what they are for traditional taxis when you factor in additional costs that may apply.  This is especially true when Lyft's “Prime Time” pricing is in effect.

There may still be some benefits to using Lyft over a traditional taxi service, however, even if you are paying the same amount (or slightly more). When deciding which type of taxi service you should use, consider the following points:

  • Always consider the distance of your trip before deciding which service you should use. It is very common that riding a short distance is cheaper with Lyft than with a traditional taxi. However, if Lyft "Prime Time" pricing is in effect, or you’re going a very long distance, chances are that the prices will be close. Remember that you can also negotiate flat rates with traditional taxis, which you cannot do with Lyft.
     
  • Lyft will pick you up anywhere that is convenient to you. With a traditional taxi, you usually have to meet one, or try to flag one down in a busy urban area. This increases the amount of time that it takes for the taxi to get to you.  It also inconveniences you, because you have to walk through an area with lots of other cars, which can be dangerous.
     
  • Lyft cars also (usually) show up faster than traditional taxis, and you can track them to know exactly when they are going to arrive! You know exactly how far away the closest car is before you request the ride, and you can wait inside until your car arrives.  Then Lyft will notify you when your driver is ready to pick you up!
     
  • It is estimated that up to 35% of traditional taxis never arrive at their pick-up points after being notified by their dispatch. This is because if a more convenient ride comes up on the way, the driver can respond to that fare and ignore the previous one. Also, if the taxis do not use GPS technology, they can arrive at the wrong place, and maybe even pick up a different person instead of you. With Lyft, your ride request will not be accepted if there is no driver available in your immediate area, so there’s no chance that you’ll be standing around waiting for a ride that will never show up.
     
  • Unlike traditional taxis, you never have to spend time looking for cash or a credit card to pay your driver when your Lyft ride is over. Lyft has your credit card on file, and will automatically charge it when the ride is complete. You can even add tips onto your price right from the app! Then, just get out of the car and walk away – it’s that easy!

How does Lyft "Prime Time" pricing work?

Lyft’s "Prime Time" is a temporary percentage-based increase in fares when there is a high demand for Lyft rides in an area, but not many Lyft drivers there.  Other times that "Prime Time" pricing may come into effect include during holidays, promotions, or large events or festivals in an area.  Though it seems to be a way for Lyft to make money, the purpose of Lyft’s "Prime Time" pricing is actually to help its passengers… though it doesn’t seem that way when you realize that you’ll be paying more (sometimes double) for your ride.

The idea behind "Prime Time" pricing is twofold.  First, it encourages more Lyft drivers to get on the road, and thus earn more money from higher fares. With more Lyft drivers available, more passengers can be served.  Second, with prices temporarily increased, only people in immediate need of a Lyft ride will likely request one, while others will seek alternative forms of transportation.  This lowers demand for Lyft rides to the point that anybody in an area who wants a Lyft ride can get one.

You are made aware of the "Prime Time" price increase, if it will apply, before you accept your Lyft ride. In addition, even if "Prime Time" pricing begins in your area after you have accepted your ride, you will not have to pay the additional fare.

How does Lyft make money?

Lyft makes money through a commission-based system.  The passenger pays a fare based on how far they are going and how long they travel. Lyft then takes a 20-25% commission from what is earned by the driver on each ride. There are also some additional fees associated with the service that increase Lyft’s earnings.

 

That's a bit of information about the costs and fees associated with using Lyft! Our review of Lyft (our next tutorial) will help you decide if you want to join, but if you’re already convinced, see our tutorial on how to download and sign up for Lyft.


Is Lyft Safe + 5 Safety Tips

When considering using an independent taxi service like Lyft, the first question you might ask yourself is “is Lyft safe to use?” There are many considerations that come to mind: Who are the Lyft drivers? Are the drivers reliable? What would happen if I get into an accident while using Lyft? How can I protect my privacy? All of these questions are important to consider before using a service like Lyft, and in this article, we will address them all.

So, exactly how safe is Lyft?

Lyft is safe to use because it provides support for customers who may experience danger or discomfort while using the service. Background checks, 24/7 customer support, and a rating system ensures the safety of users. So long as you take reasonable precautions while using Lyft, maintaining your safety should be easy.

Though Lyft is committed to the safety and comfort of all of its users, some safety concerns are still raised by users. Lyft drivers use their own personal vehicles, and do not need to go through any formal training or licensing (as opposed to typical taxicab drivers). However, some functions of the Lyft service are safer than typical taxi companies, as the app provides the name and photograph of the driver who picks you up, and both drivers and passengers are rated based on their behavior while using Lyft.

Lyft has a 1-million-dollar insurance policy to pair with the verified, in-state insurance of all of its drivers. Lyft does a DMV history check – as well as state and county-wide background checks – on its drivers, and rejects any applicant who has a history of violent crimes, sexual offenses, felonies, or drug-related charges. Lyft has a zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy for its drivers, and encourages passengers to report Lyft drivers who violate this policy. A Lyft driver’s vehicle must be in good condition, no older than twelve years, and must pass Lyft’s 19-Point inspection. Lyft also has a 24/7 customer service help line in case of emergencies.

Overall, Lyft is about as safe as the traditional taxi service that it emulates, and includes functions that are (in some ways) a large improvement over the typical taxi experience. But just in case, we've provided some extra tips that can make your ride with Lyft as safe as possible.

5 tips for staying safe while using Lyft

1. Choose safe, well-lit locations for pick-up and drop-off.

One of the benefits of using Lyft instead of a traditional taxicab service is that GPS technology allows Lyft drivers to find you and pick you up pretty much anywhere you like. This saves you the trouble of having to wait for a taxi in an unsafe neighbourhood, or in a busy, traffic-filled area that could be dangerous.  Still, be sure to choose safe locations for pick-ups and drop-offs, and consider walking to a better-lit or more crowded area to meet your driver. You can even wait inside a building for your Lyft driver because the app will notify you when the driver arrives.

2. Make sure the correct driver and car has come to pick you up.

You can use the Lyft app to see how far away your driver is while you’re waiting; this should help you gauge when your driver will arrive. The Lyft app also allows you to see the first name, profile picture, license plate number, car make and model, and current rating of your driver.  Make sure that all of this information matches with the driver who arrives to pick you up.  If you can, also see if you can get your driver to recognize you by name (something they will probably do as soon as you enter the vehicle, for their own safety). 

All of this is to make sure that you are being picked up by an actual Lyft driver, or that the correct driver has arrived and is taking you to the correct location. Remember that Lyft vehicles are the personal property of the driver – they do not have distinctive markings.

3. Utilize the 24/7 customer service line if you need it.

At any time, a passenger or driver can call Lyft’s 24/7 customer service line at 855-865-9553. A customer service specialist will assist the caller with any issue. Lyft also recommends dialing 9-1-1 prior to calling this line if you encounter a true emergency.  It might be a good idea to save Lyft's customer service number in your mobile device before using Lyft. You never know when it might come in handy!

4. Use the two-way Lyft rating system to inform other users of bad drivers.

In addition to your Lyft driver's identifying information, the Lyft app will show you the rating score that the driver has received from previous passengers. Though it’s not always necessary to cancel your Lyft ride because of a low driver rating, this is an option, and it allows you to wait for another Lyft driver to pick you up instead. In addition, if you have a bad experience while riding with a Lyft driver, you can anonymously rate them (see the tutorial on how to use Lyft for how to do this). This will help warn other passengers about the driver, and inform Lyft if a driver is behaving inappropriately in any way.

5. Stay in touch with someone whom you trust.

When using Lyft, you are getting into a car with someone who is, most likely, unfamiliar to you.  Therefore, it is wise to let a close friend or family member know that you’re using Lyft, as well as where you are going.  It also doesn’t hurt to send text messages to them or phone them while you’re riding, just to check in. Always make sure that your phone is fully charged when using Lyft, not only because it's a safety lifeline, but also because you will need it if you want to request a Lyft ride home!

That's our spiel on Lyft safety. Check out the next tutorial to learn how much rides cost with Lyft.


What is Lyft and How Does It Work?

Traditional taxi services have a lot of drawbacks, especially because not much has changed over the years in terms of improvements to taxi cabs and what they offer to passengers. Taxis don’t let you know when they’re arriving, and in some cases, don’t show up at all. You also have no idea how much your ride will cost until you leave the taxi, at which point you're likely fumbling for cash to pay your driver with. Lyft took all of these negative experiences with taxis into account when developing their taxi service.

What is Lyft?

Lyft is an independent taxi service that hires people to use their own vehicles to drive passengers around. The passengers use an app to request a ride, and can be picked up and dropped off anywhere. Payments are made through the app, so there is no need to find cash to pay at the end of the ride.

How Lyft works: 5 Tips to riding with Lyft

1. Download the Lyft app

Search for the Lyft app in the Android Play Store or Apple App Store, and sign up for an account. It's fast, it's easy, and best of all – it's free!

Download the Lyft app and sign up

2. Get precise pick-ups and drop-offs

Choose exactly where you want to be picked up and dropped off.  No need to try to hail a cab in a crowded urban area, risking your safety in the process! You can even specify exactly where you are in a busy area; for example, “in the red section of the parking garage.”

Request a ride with Lyft

3. Know exactly who is picking you up, and track them

With Lyft, you are given the make and license plate of the car of your driver, as well as their picture, name.  You can also see the rating that driver currently holds, based on reviews from other Lyft passengers. You can track their exact location as they approach you, and you will receive a notification when your car arrives.  That way, you have the option of waiting inside until it gets there!

See your driver's details

Then just take your ride, and get out of the car. Your ride will be paid for by your credit card automatically. Make sure you rate your driver, and add a tip if you want to, using the app!

4. Get free rides!

Lyft offers many promotions, so always be on the lookout for these. Just for signing up, you will get $5 off of your first 10 rides within 10 days! You are also given a code that you can send to friends to get them to sign up.  If they do, you'll get further discounts off of your rides!

Invite your friends to use Lyft

5. Become a Lyft driver

If you like driving and don’t mind meeting new people, why not try driving for Lyft? You make your own hours, and get to be your own boss! You can work essentially whenever it is convenient for you, and you keep 75-80% of the fares you make.  PLUS, you get to keep 100% of all the tips that you make, which are easily added to the fare by the user at the end of a ride!

Become a Lyft driver

 

That's a brief introduction to what Lyft is and how Lyft works!