Joining Lyft was an easy choice for me, especially after I watched the team make history earlier this year with the first self-driving rides on the Vegas Strip. At the same time, I had some pressing questions as I thought about our plans for the future.
In 5 years, would this company still need drivers? And if so, what will those drivers need from us?
The answer to the first question is an unequivocal yes. Based on our projections, we expect our driver community to more than double in the next 5 years. Just as advancements in aviation technologies haven’t reduced the need for pilots or flight staff, there’s still security in the future for the 1.4 million people who depend on driving for an income. We are in the business of supporting our drivers for the long haul. Period.
To answer the question of what drivers need from us, I parked my car for a month and went to the source, spending time with drivers at dozens of local offices nationwide. They made it clear that with national median earnings of $18.83/hr, Lyft provides a flexible opportunity to help them reach their goals. I was moved by their stories of paying off debt, supporting children, and starting small businesses. I also saw how resourceful they are at raising their profits by reducing costs — stacking coupons for oil changes, negotiating better insurance rates — and how much they valued camaraderie with other people doing the same thing.
The opportunity to make a big impact for our driver community was clear. Plus, they gave me a huge inspiration — we could make a difference in their take-home pay by using our size to significantly lower operating costs for driving.
Great drivers deserve great support
Starting today, we’re deepening our commitment to supporting drivers by nearly doubling our operational hours at all our current Hub locations, in 15 cities across North America.
This summer, we’ll break ground on the next generation of Lyft Hubs designed to support drivers on and off the road. We’ll help drivers make a greater profit by reducing their costs, and providing education on how to maximize their earnings:
- Oil changes and basic vehicle maintenance at a heavy discount
- Charging stations for electric vehicles
- Car and SUV rentals with our partners through Express Drive
- Learning spaces to facilitate help with filing taxes and getting career support
- Communal areas that offer not only coffee and refreshments, but education opportunities (we’re all in the hospitality business together)
- Access to clean bathrooms and comfortable spots to rest
- Help desks for easy access to the Lyft support team
We’ll unlock these in partnership with other companies who share our values of economic mobility, as we’ve done with tax support through Intuit and education perks through Guild.
Bringing drivers together
In a collage of photos at our San Francisco headquarters, one snapshot stood out to me on my first day: a softball team of drivers in Chicago, all smiles on the grass at Sheridan Park after a game. Talk to any early employee and you’ll quickly understand that a strong driver community is built into Lyft’s DNA — drivers come together for sports leagues and family Thanksgivings, battery jumps and coffee breaks.
I’ve now seen for myself the bonds that form when drivers get together, and it challenges a perception held by some people that rideshare drivers are competitive rather than supportive of each other. Our market share is now 35% nationwide, and over 50% in some markets — with plenty of Lyft rides to go around, all drivers benefit when they can turn to each other for advice.
To that end, we’re designing the new hubs to foster these connections at scale. Drivers can reserve space to host skill-sharing meetups, like how to earn more tips or drive in a new city, or network around common interests like volunteering or entrepreneurship.
Strengthening our field support
For us, the term headquarters is a bit of a misnomer — it’s our local presence, not our largest office, that makes Lyft what it is. Those of us in San Francisco consider ourselves field support: from engineers to marketers, we’re all working in service of our on-the-ground teams and drivers, supporting big investments so Lyft continues to thrive locally.
To help realize our vision, we’ve brought on Geoffrey Bain as our Head of Retail Experience, most recently of Unilever and Nike. You’ll hear more from him as we start to bring our next generation of Lyft Hubs to life over the coming weeks.
We’re not doing 180 days of change. Lyft has been committed to drivers since our beginning. We’ve led the industry with tipping in the app, same-day payments, destination mode and dozens of other driver-centric features. I’m excited to raise the bar again by providing drivers with an incredible in-person experience.
Because just as we’re committed to ending traffic and making cities greener, we’re equally invested in the people who make Lyft possible. They’re more than drivers — they’re mothers, fathers, artists looking for a lucky break — and we take seriously our responsibility to help them reach their goals.
Thanks to Jim Keen for illustrating our vision.