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Anger over Lyft Cutting Passenger Referral Bonuses Today

Anger over Lyft Cutting Passenger Referral Bonuses Today

Drivers have been nickel-ed and dimed out of a good salary in the past two months and there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight. There have been two price cuts in the last three months in many markets, which has cut some driver’s income by 25% by fares, or up to 50% take home income due to Lyft fees and fixed cost of gas. Some drivers have quit and others have switched over to Uber to see if they can make more money. The regional lounges have been filled over the summer with complaints about not enough rides or low incomes even during the weekends. Many of those posts have subsided in the recent weeks due to the strong demand in the fall but I believe anger is definitely brewing.

Starting November 1st, New Passenger Referral bonuses are only $10 for the new passenger and back down to $5 for the drivers. Many drivers are up in arms over this change. Some drivers supplemented their incomes with the passenger referrals. Drivers with the highest passenger referrals (in the hundreds of passenger referrals) average about 10-20 A WEEK. If they cut the passenger referrals, they stand to lose anywhere between $50 and $100 in a week, or up to $400 in a month. That cut is not insignificant.

These drivers are very few but helps highlight how some drivers use this to supplement their income in spite of reducing fares and more drivers, meaning fewer rides at lower fares, which translates into lower incomes.

The free ride up to $30 was very enticing to many as it was a free ride to most destinations a few miles away. Now that it is $10, it’ll only partially pay for most rides. My average ride is about $12 and this number is valid in a number of markets, with it hovering between $11 and $15 in many markets. Now that the free ride is only $10, each passenger will now have to pay a few dollars for their first ride, which no longer means free.

Ever since Lyft increased passenger referrals from $10 up to $30 to match Uber’s promotion of $35 for a passenger’s first ride, new passenger referrals went up. The steady increase in demand was good for drivers in addition to more passenger referrals. Now with it being lowered to $10, drivers in many of the smaller markets will suffer the most as their passenger growth will slow down along with their incomes.

A few drivers have started a petition hoping to influence Lyft to change the passenger referrals back to its original amount. You can view the link below.


What are your thoughts about this decrease? Will the lower passenger referral affect your weekly income?

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