Lyft has become the personable, cuddly alternative to the soul-crushing, person crushing, employee-exploiting somehow-still-king of ride-hailing, Uber. Uber remains the top dog, but has recently been losing significant portions of its market share to Lyft thanks to Lyft’s friendlier, seemingly fairer approach towards drivers. Lyft is so popular that its new subscription service has a waitlist several million users long. In yet another move that signals Lyft might actually care about the human faces it sends out into the streets to do its bidding each day, the company is investing $100 million into new “hubs” meant to make Lyft driving more convenient for drivers.
Lyft’s new “driver support hubs” will feature exclusive perks available only to Lyft drivers. These hubs will offer discounted oil changes and basic vehicle maintenance, car washes, and clean bathrooms. The centers will also be a site where Lyft can share valuable information with drivers such as vehicle rental programs, tax information, and career support. Coffee and other refreshments will be offered to help drivers recharge in between cars full of drunk bridesmaids. Lyft COO Jon McNeill says the hubs reflect that “Lyft has been committed to drivers since our beginning,” unlike some of its competitors.
Lyft already operates 15 support centers around the nation, but will now increase the operational hours at those facilities. They have only been open around 40 hours a week, but Lyft hopes to get that number closer to 70 hours. A Lyft spokesperson says the company’s initial plans call for around 30 new state-of-the-art centers to be built “very soon.”
Uber, meanwhile, is reportedly working on new “driver discomfort hubs” to make driving for Uber as misery-inducing as possible. In all seriousness, Uber actually does have over 600 support centers for its own drivers, but their sizes and offerings vary significantly between locations. Are Lyft’s new hubs merely a means of playing catch-up?