Update – Lyft Did Not Come Through

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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 support@lyft.com 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.

About Jennifer Moody

Jennifer is a management consultant and avid volunteer. Her career and volunteer duty travels have helped her log top-tier airline and hotel status annually for the last nineteen years. In addition, she embraces the opportunity to maximize her vacation time by planning extracurricular trips that have taken her to over 60 countries and 48.5 US states. Once an "every week" road warrior, she now only travels around 100 days a year. She resides in her native Fort Worth, Texas where she enjoys cooking, gardening, sewing, needlepoint, wine, and playing with her Border Collie/Great Pyreness mix puppy Harley Quinn.

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  1. I don’t understand how this happened. If they couldn’t afford it in the why not just limit to “first 10” or something?

    • I agree completely. It was a poorly managed promotion. I commented to friends right after I signed up that this was going to get out of control quickly. And it did.

  2. I have been pretty patient with this, understanding that they’ve gotten a huge influx of data they need to go through because of this promotion. However, they should have expected that. $1000 is not chump change to a lot of people and if they set so few requirements and no real cap on the amount of people who could sign up (until they cut it off), that’s on them. If anything, it was a poorly designed promotion but they went live with it. To basically sabotage honest people adhering to the terms of the promotion so they won’t have to pony up it’s really slimy.

    • Agree. I know several drivers who really need this money and were counting on their referrals to come through. What’s funny here in Dallas is there still seem to be too few drivers on the road… I frequently look at Lyft and discover that the closest driver to me is 20 minutes away. Many drivers report the reciprocal experience when receiving ride requests. This was a great opportunity for Lyft to make a grab for marketshare here in DFW and they blew it – and then Uber launched Select at the same time. Bad bad move.

  3. Strike two in one week for Lyft–direct statement from the co-founder and they can’t even honor that by delivering a status email. Your ex-mentor’s story about being removed from mentor-status is amazing, and you bring up an interesting question about employees potentially gaming the system. “Work your butt off to help us out and make the money we said you could, and then we boot you.” At best, the impression is the management is incompetent. At worst…well…anyway. I gotta wonder how many current drivers, potential drivers, but also passengers they’re going to lose. It makes everyone look bad by default.

    1 of my referrer’s people got through before the deadline. The rest of us are in limbo.

  4. It is simple, they never intended to pay out these bonuses, short of a few, maybe. It’s an easy way to get a whole bunch of new leads. Dumb as they are, Lyft thought… “well, if we get those leads, and pay a few referrals, we’ll have a whole bunch of new drivers for next to nothing”… not counting on the wave of backlash.
    In the article, you also forgot to mention that a whole bunch of actual Lyft employees – like Stacey Speer, for example – got referrals through. Not just a blatant conflict of interest, but all the more proof of what a farce Lyft is and how they fraudulently tumble from disaster to disaster.
    I actually got removed from being a mentor a while ago for truthfully answering mentee questions. It’s easy to see what they are all about, but sadly, there are also always people naive enough, or desperate enough, to keep driving for them and thus, the machine running.

    • I applied to a Lyft driver. I competed my application and took the “Welcome” Mentor ride on 2/28. Several days have passed, I got an Email stating the picture of me ( Mentor took picture ) wasnt to lyft standards and requested a new picture. I send in the Picture as requested, and I was told it could take two days to process the new picture. Two days later, I got another email requesting the same with the same two day processing message. Again, I send another picture. I had contacted Sterling who did the background check, and they informed me that my background was cleared on 3/4 in the morning and had convayed this to lyft. As of now, 3/8 I am still waiting to be cleared to drive. Despite MANY emails I still dont have an answer other than the automated ones that everyone got. I never qualifted for the “BONUS” and to be quite honest, Im glad I didnt. If I jumped though all the hoops and was denied due to the delays of the company, I would be really mad. But here is my biggest concern, If an applicant or a driver cant get a real answer from the company.. weather it be regarding a shortage in pay ( there were several posts on FB about that ), the status of an applicant or even just issues with the app… Whats going to happen when a driver gets into an accident and the customer is injured and sues the driver? Will that be yet another automated response…” Were sorry to learn of your recent troubles, Please send pictures of the damage to us and we will be in touch. “??? If they can stick their heads in the sand over a 1000.00.. what will happen when someone is seriously hurt? Standard Auto insurnace will NOT cover a claim where the passanger is being transported for hire.. Guess who will be left holding that bag.. Can you sue an app? I would really like to take a look at that “1M dollar insurance policy” they claim to have..

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