In the emerging ride-sharing industry, Uber and Lyft have been going at it against each other for a while. Lyft has been trying to entice new drivers, and possibly to lure some away from Uber as well. Lyft’s is trying to make their company a bit more alluring to drivers with their new Accelerate program. Accelerate is a rewards program that is designed to give drivers rewards, like a direct line to call Lyft headquarters, based on the amount of rides they give per month.
The rewards look nice on the surface, ranging from discounted tax software by Intuit to discounted car maintenance. At their second tier, over 600 discounts are “unlocked.” In reality, the whole system is just a fat book of coupons that some people may find useful but most probably won’t. In today’s era of flash sales and social couponing like Groupon it’s doubtful that Lyft’s Accelerate program will over any discounts that are actually competitive.
Accelerate is a tiered program where drivers get to “unlock” new levels of rewards depending on how many rides they give per month. The program’s three tiers are a basic level for all Lyft drivers, 20+ rides per month, and 200+ rides per month. A driver would need to be really ambitious to achieve 200 rides in a single month considering Lyft’s small market share. Only the highest level allows a driver to call Lyft’s headquarters, which sounds like everyone else is left to fend for themselves with any issues. From Lyft’s website, a driver’s reward level is “secured” every month based on their number of rides. So if a driver doesn’t maintain his quota, the rewards vanish.
This may be an attempt by Lyft to placate its drivers before they place a class-action suit against Lyft and Uber for denying them employment status as workers. Both Uber and Lyft have run into trouble in California courts because the companies are classifying their drivers as contractors instead of employees. This prevents their drivers from certain rights employees in America are entitled to. It sounds like this is really just a monthly quota system in disguise, and it’s perks are masquerading as contractor (not employee) benefits.