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Lyft with Hertz Rental Cars, Instant Deposits, Shell Gas Discounts

Lyft with Hertz Rental Cars, Instant Deposits, Shell Gas Discounts

There was a livestream at Lyft HQ yesterday. For those who missed it, you can watch the full video here: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/2XWCgW34SPp

Below is the full summary of the livestream, along with some analysis of each new announcement. Every since announcement was very positive for the drivers. None of the announcements were geared for the passengers. Here is a real brief list of announcements:

Laura Copeland opened the livestream and was the first speaker in the video. John Zimmer was the next on the video and he noted that “momentum in business is really strong. We have well over 100,000 active drivers doing 1 million rides per week in 150 cities.”

Starbucks

He also quickly highlighted the partnership with Starbucks. All Lyft drivers are automatically gold members with Starbucks and here are the benefits:

Lyft passengers are also able to tip their drivers with Starbucks eGift cards as well.

Didi

Lyft has partnered with Didi so that anyone with a Didi app (200 million people) would be able to request a Lyft ride. He notes that 8 million people travel between China and the US every year and this will increase demand for Lyft. This will also make it easier for those from China to get a ride to where they need to go.

Launching in Las Vegas

1000 community drivers on day one, first week completed 4x more rides than any opening week after launch.

Lyft Internal Growth

They are opening another engineering hub in Seattle, and also a new customer experience center in Nashville. They will be hiring 300 more customer specialists to help drivers.

Tips and Power Driver Bonus

Millions of dollars has been given back to drivers as power driver bonus. To date, 40 million dollars has been given to drivers as tips. Lyft doesn’t take anything off the tips, including any transaction costs they incur.

Lyft Community Promise:

Partnership with Hertz (Oliver Hsiang, VP of Partnerships)

Lyft is announcing a new partnership with Hertz. Lyft found that 20% of all applications doesn’t go through because of vehicle age and type. This new partnership would address that. Hertz is now offering affordable daily, weekly or monthly rental rates to drive on Lyft. The pilot program is live in Las Vegas but will be coming to more markets soon.

Here is more information from Ellen over at Forbes:

The rental pilot program is live in Las Vegas with SUVs for now, but will expand to other cities. Rental rates are $25 to $65 per day, $150 to $390 per week and $540 to $1440 per month, depending on the car style.

But the rental agreement forbids drivers from using those rented cars for anything other than Lyft and personal use. Drivers are also required to work for Lyft at least two hours a day and accept 90 percent of ride requests.

Analysis:

This can be a double edged sword for drivers. It is great in that if our car is in the shop or if we want to refer our friends without cars to drive on Lyft, we can still do that by renting a car from Hertz. However, this may over-saturate the market and cause everyone to lose money. I don’t think this will be a huge issues as I believe the ones who are renting the cars will be less likely to put up with low earnings, so they will be the first to stop driving. In the long run, supply and demand will balance out. The over-saturation issue may be most prevalent on huge Lyft days, such as Halloween and New Years Eve. Everyone will be looking to drive then, so earnings will be pressured downwards especially during these days.

In the Forbes article, they noted the prices for the rental cars. On a non-busy day, I can see rental rates as low as $25 for an economy sedan but at $65 a day is going to be a bit steep, unless you are in an expensive city like San Francisco. I think the daily rates are pretty good if you can drive Friday-Sunday. Hopefully they have a weekender discount rate as rental cars tend to be less busy on weekends.

Some people noted that it is going to be like a taxi where you rent a vehicle. That is sort of true, but when you work a taxi, there is a lot of other issues to deal with, such as dispatch, condition of the cars, and when you can drive. If taxi drivers could only drive Friday night, Saturdays and Sundays, don’t you think they all would? They don’t because medallions cost a fortune and they need to be on the road all the time.

Express Pay (Tali Rapaport, VP of Product, whom I met in Boston!)

Lyft is now offering an innovative way to get your hard earned dollars. They are now starting a feature called Express Pay. Once you have earned $50 for the week, you can choose to deposit that instantly to your bank account with their partner, Stripe. There is a transaction fee of 50 cents. Weekly deposits are still free. This feature is launching early next month before the holidays.

Analysis:

This is going to be a great feature. Sure, the 50 cent transaction fee is going to suck, but its money instantly (depending on how fast your bank processes it). Tali noted that it’ll be a cash deposit, so I think Stripe is doing the transactions differently from direct deposit (ACH), where it can take up to a few days. It is going to be something between a deposit and a wire. Its going to be great either way. I don’t think I’ll use it, but I know some drivers will.

Sidecar has this feature, but the problem is that passengers have up to 24 hours to pay for the ride, so your ride could be held pending for at least a day, and up to 14 if they don’t pay at all. (After 14 days, Sidecar pays you directly). Sidecar has implemented a continuous earning feature where you get paid per minute by time, distance and job. Maybe this will bring it more inline with Uber and Lyft where transactions close out quickly and you see your weekly earnings quickly.

I wished that Lyft have a weekly earnings count like Uber. Uber has a feature where you can preview your next week’s statement and it is an almost real time feed of your earnings for the week. This is a great way to double check your trips and see if anything has changed.

Partnership with Shell (David Rust, Head of Operations Strategy)

The more you drive, the higher the discount per gallon. It is real-time, not like Uber where its monthly. You walk up to a Shell station with your unique shell pin code. After the pin code, you should see the price reduce in real time. It’s live in San Francisco, Chicago and Boston! (and eventually nationwide at the end of the year).

Analysis:

I think this is also a great feature. It is similar to the Fuel Rewards by Shell. If you spend money on a linked credit card, you get discounts depending on how much you spend in certain categories. In this instance, the more you drive, the higher your discount is on gas, which will be great. They haven’t said how many rides you will need for certain discounts and if its cumulative beyond a week or a month (in case you only drive a few rides a week so that you can save up for free gas!).

Lyft Ecosystem

The last video was about the Lyft Ecosystem. It takes you through the day of a driver:

I think this is a real positive improvement for Lyft and definitely offer something different from Uber. What do you think about these changes? Anything that would motivate you to drive for Lyft rather than Uber?

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