In a Nutshell: Folks who are staring down a pile of debt may feel helpless and discouraged. But companies like Lyft help people take control of their finances with its opportunities for drivers. The company was founded in 2012 as a rideshare service, but its larger goals include eliminating the need for every individual or household to own a vehicle and to give back to the communities in which it operates. The company partners with nonprofit organizations to provide those in need free or discounted rides for important occasions such as medical appointments and elections. Lyft also values feedback and uses it to shape future decisions about the platform.
Life can be expensive. It’s full of financial ups and downs, and, sometimes, those dips can lead to debt. And when debt grows beyond our means, it can lead to a wide range of problems.
Feeling the burden of high debt has been identified as a cause of emotional stress and even physical ailments brought on by stress. The added weight of debt can also cause tensions to run high in household settings and take away from the quality of family life.
And many U.S. residents live on the brink of falling onto financial hard times. About 40% of U.S. residents would not be able to afford an unexpected expense of just $400 without going into (or further into) debt.
Those struggling to make ends meet have a number of options before them to help boost their income and pay down or avoid debt altogether. In the past, those options were much more limited — it basically meant taking on extra full-time or part-time job. This approach may help to accomplish the goal of bringing in more money, but it also makes you beholden to another boss, another work schedule, and less time with loved ones.
But the gig economy is in full swing and more opportunities exist than ever before for people to earn some extra cash on the side — on their own terms and in their own time.
Companies like Lyft are among the best-known brands pioneering the way in the world of side hustles. Some folks even work for Lyft as their main source of income.
For those who may not have heard of the company, Lyft is a ridesharing service that not only helps drivers boost their income, it gives riders a more convenient and flexible alternative to taxi cabs.
We recently spoke with Lyft to learn more about the company’s background, how it seeks to deliver positive change, and provide a great experience for drivers and riders.
A Rideshare Service that Helps People Earn Money and Effects Positive Change
Lyft was founded in 2012 by Logan Green and John Zimmer to improve people’s lives with the world’s best transportation. The service is available to approximately 95% of the United States population as well as select cities in Canada, according to the company.
“Lyft is committed to effecting positive change for our cities and making cities more livable for everyone through initiatives that bridge transportation gaps, and by promoting transportation equity through shared rides (pre-COVID), bikeshare systems, electric scooters, and public transit partnerships,” according to Lyft.
The company founders started Lyft with a vision for a world where people spend less time in traffic and more time with each other.
“Lyft was never about building a better taxi. The goal from early 2007, starting with Zimride, was to replace car ownership entirely,” the company said. “As a mission-driven company committed to building the world’s best transportation, we are dedicated to elevating the driver experience and setting drivers up for success.”
“We’re also investing in making earnings more reliable for drivers by helping them better predict the busiest places and times to drive,” according to Lyft. “And we are rolling out and updating programs like Lyft Rewards and our vehicle service offerings, so they can get more out of the driving experience.”
“Lyft Rewards is a program that recognizes your drive, dedication, and superior service when it’s busiest out. Built from driver feedback, it’s launching in more cities starting now,” according to the Lyft website.
Establishing Partnerships to Provide Free and Discounted Rides for Those in Need
Lyft is more than just a transactional rideshare service. The company puts in the work to help people in need — especially through the challenging times many have faced in the past year.
“We believe everyone should have access to reliable, affordable transportation, and the reality is that millions of Americans are without it,” according to the company. “LyftUp is Lyft’s comprehensive effort to expand transportation access to those who need it most.”
Through LyftUp, the innovative company partners with leading nonprofits to help provide free and discounted rides to individuals and families who lack affordable, reliable transportation.
“LyftUp programs enable disconnected communities to gain access to healthy food, get to job interviews, get to the polls, connect with critical resources in the aftermath of natural disasters, and more,” according to Lyft.
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Lyft has mobilized more than 700 LyftUp partners. They include public health entities, local governments, nonprofits, and community organizations — all of whom provide free rides and free delivery of essential goods for vulnerable communities and critical workers. More on Lyft’s impact in 2020 can be found on the company’s blog.
“Lyft is also mobilizing a coalition of partners (JPMorgan Chase, Anthem, and United Way to name a few) through a vaccines access program with a goal to provide 60 million rides to and from vaccination sites for low-income, uninsured, and at-risk communities, when the vaccine becomes widely available,” according to the company.
Lyft’s on-demand transportation network provides critical access to healthcare services for at-risk communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19, including non-emergency medical transport for home-bound seniors, people living with disabilities, and dialysis patients, the company stated.
“Many of these patients belong to vulnerable populations who will be prioritized for early vaccine distribution, and Lyft’s healthcare transportation services will play a critical role in transporting them to and from vaccination sites,” according to Lyft.
Prioritizing Feedback from Riders and Drivers
“We pride ourselves on our strong relationships with drivers and have developed a robust process to collect their feedback,” the company said. “This includes face-to-face conversations at our local Hubs and Driver Centers, as well as programs like the Driver Advisory Councils, quarterly feedback sessions, surveys, and one-on-one interactions.”
Through these relationships, Lyft has collected thousands of pieces of feedback from drivers, allowing the company to better understand their experiences to shape the products and features it will bring to market to meet their needs.
“Improvements to the Lyft app, like Dark Mode and rider profile photo design implementation, as well as local DAC program launches, Driver Guidebook updates, and feedback on new Driver Education courses, were all results from our conversations with DAC members,” according to the company.
Lyft also has a two-way rating system with mandatory secondary feedback.
“If a driver rates a rider three stars or fewer, we’ll make sure they aren’t matched together again,” the company stated. “If a rider rates a driver four stars or fewer, they’re required to provide more details about the rating to ensure we’re constantly tracking user feedback. Lyft looks into low ratings and regularly reviews community feedback to inform our policies and product features.”
Lyft recently launched Emergency Help, Supported by ADT, to riders and drivers nationwide.
“With Emergency Help, if a rider or driver ever feels uncomfortable or unsafe, they are able to immediately connect with an ADT security professional silently or by voice,” according to Lyft. “Riders are able to choose whether they want ADT to text them, call them, or silently alert 911 on their behalf (to promote focused driving, drivers only have the option to request a call from ADT).”
If requested by the user, ADT will alert authorities so they can arrive at the user’s live location, equipped with ride details like the vehicle’s make and model, license plate number, and the intended drop-off location.
Lyft offers a great, flexible way to earn extra income, with its wide range of safety features and a mission to make the communities it works in a better place.