Del Playa
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Del Playa

Uber & Lyft should reward prompt passengers

The quicker a rider gets into a car, the more trips a driver can do in a day, thus the more revenue the companies can make from each shift.

Despite how Uber & Lyft present the fleet of drivers, there aren’t an unlimited supply of them on a given day. Drivers only have a certain window of time that they can shuttle people around in their vehicles, and since they answer to no one, the independent contractors can go home at any time.

Therefore the rideshare giants should do what they can to encourage passengers to hop in the vehicles as soon as possible. Here’s why.

If a driver has dedicated 8 hours in a day to tool around their town, they can expect to take between 20–40 trips depending on how long the rides are.

This weekend I did 29 trips in 7.5 hours. I was able to do that because the majority of my passengers were quick to jump into my car. It was an unusual, but welcome, trend.

The math is shocking. If 30 passengers make a driver wait just one minute after arrival, that’s 30 minutes of dead time where nobody is making any money.

If those passengers dilly for two minutes, that’s an hour of nada happening except for exhaust polluting the atmosphere as the car idles.

Neither companies charge the passenger during those two minutes after arrival. That’s part of the problem.

Worse: Uber and Lyft allow the passenger to keep drivers waiting up to 5 minutes before the driver has the option to cancel — which will cost the rider $5. Less than $4 of that goes to the driver for the time it took them to get to the destination (this averages between 5–12 minutes) plus the 5 minutes of waiting.

The solution for this is simple: Give passengers who can get into the car within 30 seconds of its arrival a $1 credit for a future ride.

Also allow them to bank these credits so they can accumulate the equivalent of free trips.

Super crazy idea: also allow passengers to also use those credits to OMG tip drivers. I have done over 6,000 trips over 8 years. Even on a good week tips account for about 9% of my gross income. Anything that could push that closer to 15% would encourage more good drivers to keep driving per day and per hour.

If a passenger could just easily incorporate that $1 Prompt Reward into a tip, the good driver is that much more happy and do more trips. Since both rideshare companies experience insane turnover, they should be doing more things to keep good drivers on the network.

When passengers are ready to ride, everyone wins. Uber can get more trips out of drivers per hour; drivers can get a few extra rides per shift; and good passengers who — God bless them — do not summon a car until they are ready, are rewarded with a discount for the future.

Of the two major companies, Lyft should do its best to roll this out first. They are rarely new to innovation and have consistently lagged behind Uber in market share.

Meanwhile Uber has made one unforced error after another, seemingly giving Lyft chances to bite into its lead. But Lyft hesitates and is often lost.

It’s prime time to change that.



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