If you have been following the Lyft driver referral saga, the overnight updates is that Lyft did not come through. At least not for me. Or for any of the ridesharing drivers I stay in regular contact with who either applied themselves or referred applicants.
Yesterday’s email promised that drivers who had their background check and DMV completed by midnight yesterday would be approved to drive and eligible for the bonus offer. Drivers were to receive an email confirming whether or not they would be eligible to continue through the process.
But as of midnight last night, no email. Nothing.
And that’s despite my independent confirmation that my background check cleared earlier in the week. I’ve been stuck on the last stage of the approval process for a full week after successfully completing my mentor ride.
My own emails to Lyft have gone into limbo. Existing drivers gave me an address they have used in the past but that mailbox now has an auto-reply noting “Quick heads-up: We’re no longer checking our firstname.lastname@example.org inbox” and instead directing inquires to their online help FAQ.
There are further complications as well that suggest that Lyft may not have been expecting to approve all of the drivers in a timely manner.
I had dinner last night with a
Lyft mentor former Lyft mentor who was removed as a mentor for (wait for it) completing too many mentor rides last week. He performed over 30 rides in a four-day period because the ice storm that crippled Dallas/Fort Worth left a shortage of mentor drivers available (a typical mentor ride takes 20-30 minutes and must take place during daylight hours). Those rides were apparently above what Lyft found to be acceptable so they have removed his mentor privileges. (In the interest of disclosure, he mentored me and I can attest he spent close to 30 minutes with me, fully inspected my car, and answered all of my Lyft questions.)
Still, there are reports on some driver message boards that a few drivers have been approved. On one forum where I participate, the drivers who report approval of themselves or their referrals are interestingly NOT regular participants, leading a few drivers to speculate whether they may be PR shills.
My mentor friend reports that at least two of his drivers were referrals from an employee of Lyft’s Dallas office who were excited about the “easy $1,000”. If Lyft has selectively approved drivers, this raises the possibility that the referral system may have even been gamed internally by Lyft’s employees.
Meanwhile, prospective driver candidates like me who know that our background checks have been completed and sitting in limbo watched with disgust as last night came and went with no word.
This is not the type of PR that bodes well for a start-up fighting for market position. Lyft needs to get out in front of this issue with full transparency and honor the bonuses promised to their referring drivers for candidates who completed their mentor rides with enough time for background checks to be processed.