Lyft announces Driver Services Program amid wage backlash

During a week full of driver protests and IPO preparation, Lyft has announced its new Lyft Driver Services, an array of benefits to “help drivers succeed on their own terms.” In a blog post published by John McNeill, the COO unveiled new perks including a Lyft bank account, debit card, and Lyft-employed vehicle maintenance centers.

‘When we launched, no one could have predicted that in 2018 alone, one per cent of the U.S. workforce—nearly 2m drivers—would turn to Lyft to earn income when they want, and that since inception drivers would collectively earn more than $10bn,” wrote McNeill. “Talk to any rideshare driver, and it becomes apparent why: Today’s workers need flexible ways of earning more money while choosing their own schedule. And they’re increasingly looking to Lyft as the option that works for them.”

Included in Lyft Driver Services is the launch of Lyft Direct, which will give drivers access to a no-fee bank account and debit card. Using Lyft Direct, any driver – regardless of credit score – will be provided with a bank account free of minimums or maintenance fees.

Their earnings will be added to their debit card as soon as a ride is completed, and that money can be spent on anything. Drivers will receive four per cent cash back on certain restaurants, two per cent back on gas, and one per cent on groceries.

“The Lyft Direct debit card will include access to financial planning tools and goal-setting features to help drivers hit their personal and professional goals,” said McNeill.

Lyft also announced plans to open vehicle repair shops for the convenience of the company’s drivers. These repair shops will be solely employed by Lyft team members, including certified mechanics. Drivers will be provided with discounts of up to 50 per cent on car maintenance, repairs, cleanings, and more.

For drivers who live well outside of metropolitan areas, Lyft will be launching an on-demand mobile repair service. Lyft maintenance services will be available in April, starting in the San Francisco area.

Lastly, McNeill unveiled plans to further expand Lyft’s existing Express Drive program, which was founded in 2016. The program allows Lyft drivers who do not have access to a certified car to obtain a rental through the company. Since 2016, more than 180,000 people have been given cars so that they could start driving for Lyft.

Lyft will be expanding the Express Drive program to 30 new cities and has ordered 6,100 new vehicles for drivers without cars, including 4,600 hybrid or electric cars.

This past week, both Uber and Lyft drivers took to protesting in the streets of California, after both companies slashed driver wages.

“The economic anxieties preventing Americans from getting ahead have never been more apparent than they are today, when more than half of adults still have less than $1,000 saved to cover an emergency. We’re humbled that in 2018, nearly 2m people used Lyft to fill this gap, and we take seriously our responsibility to provide a modern workforce with a renewed sense of flexibility and security,” said McNeill.