It might not surprise you, after examining Uber and its multitude of #PRFails, that a consistent source of #PRWins is its main competitor Lyft. As Lyft’s COO Jon McNeill wrote after Uber launched a “180 Days of Change” campaign to improve its relationship with drivers, “We’re not doing 180 Days of Change. Lyft has been committed to drivers since our beginning.”1
And they’ve proved it throughout 2018, first by investing $100 million in driver support centers, and by introducing a rule requiring Lyft staff to spend time driving for Lyft to understand what it’s like.
The support centers will allow discounted oil changes and servicing for Lyft drivers, the ability to rent a car for their “Express Drive” program, in-person driver support, and will include a café, among other amenities. McNeill wrote in a blog post, “We’ll help drivers make a greater profit by reducing their costs, and providing education on how to maximize their earnings.”2
Lyft has also included, for a long time, the ability to tip drivers in the app, which Uber only added recently.
To further understand how to serve drivers, Lyft staff is now required to either drive or answer driver support calls for 16 hours per year. VP of Marketing Melissa Waters, CEO Logan Green, and President John Zimmer all take their turn behind the wheel (“I was surprised at how hard it is,” Waters said).3
While Lyft once seemed in danger of being completely steamrolled by Uber, the company has been growing at a phenomenal rate, more than doubling its amount of 2016 rides in 2017. It also has more drivers in the U.S. than Uber, with 1.4 million drivers across the U.S. and Toronto, to Uber’s 750,000 (though Lyft focuses its services in North America as opposed to Uber’s global reach).4
Both Lyft and Uber are heading for an IPO in early 2019 – Uber saw that Lyft was making plans and decided to move forward its own IPO timeline to compete. And despite the fact that Uber is still killing it in terms of market share, the skies ahead – and the PR – seem a lot sunnier for Lyft.
Who would you rather do business with?
1) Kerr, Dara. “Lyft Invests $100M in Driver Support Centers.” CNET, CNET, 23 May 2018, www.cnet.com/news/lyft-invests-100m-in-driver-support-centers/.
3) Kerr, Dara. “Work at Lyft? Take a Turn behind the Wheel.” CNET, CNET, 1 Dec. 2017, www.cnet.com/news/lyft-wants-all-staff-to-take-a-spin-behind-the-wheel/.
4) Kerr, Dara. “Lyft Grows Gangbusters in 2017, Bringing Competition to Uber.” CNET, CNET, 16 Jan. 2018, www.cnet.com/news/lyft-sees-massive-growth-brings-uber-competition/.