First time using Lyft? Important things you need to know

Lyft iPhone app

Lyft iPhone app

Uber may be the king of ridesharing services, but Lyft is not far behind. As with Uber, Lyft gives me the ability to request, track, and pay for a ride at the tip of my fingers. It’s such a simple yet brilliant idea that millions are now using.

But with any new technology comes pros and cons. You hear stories on the news and from friends and family. Some swear by the service while others avoid it at all costs. So what should you believe?

If you are deciding to ride Lyft for the first time, or a repeat customer, here are important things you should know.

What is Lyft and how does it work?

Lyft is a ridesharing app which connects passengers looking for a ride with drivers who have a car. Lyft is a competitor, and similar, to Uber.

After installing the Lyft app on your smartphone, and creating an account, you can request a ride. When you request a ride, a driver near you, based on your location, will be sent to pick you up. While your driver is on the way, you can use the Lyft app to track the driver and estimated time of arrival.

After a ride has been completed, Lyft fares are charged directly to a preloaded credit card, debit card, or PayPal account. An additional tip for a driver can be added using the app after completing a ride (see below). Fares vary by type of service (Lyft, Lyft Line, Lyft Plus, and Lyft Premier).

Lyft is currently offered in over 300 cities in the United States.

Lyft offers promo codes and referrals for free or discounted rides

When you sign up for Lyft, you will get your very own referral code which you can share to earn free or discounted rides.

To earn credits, share your code with friends, family, your teacher, whoever you want. If these people then sign up using your code and take a ride, you will get a credit that can be applied towards your next Lyft ride.

Credits vary from $5 to $20.

To find your referral code, visit https://www.lyft.com/login, click on Passenger Referrals, and look for your code.

If you find this information useful and want to use my referral code, then you can enter LYFT36888 when you sign up for Lyft. You will get $5 off each of your first few rides if you enter this promo code into your Lyft app. Are you looking for an Uber code instead? No problem then, enter in the code at3706ue for $10 off your first Uber ride.

There are multiple types of Lyft vehicles with different prices

So what’s the difference between Lyft, Lyft Line, Lyft Plus, and Lyft Premier?

Here is a breakdown of the different Lyft cars and services currently available:

Lyft: Lyft is what I use the most. Consider Lyft to be your own personal ride. Vehicles can fit up to four passengers in each car for the same price. With Lyft, expect everyday vehicles such as hybrids and compact cars. Lyft is usually cheaper than a regular taxi on the street.

Lyft is similar to UberX

Lyft Line: With Lyft Line, riders are connected with other passengers who are heading in the same general direction. Think of it as a carpool with strangers. That might sound strange but Lyft Line rates are much cheaper than regular Lyft rides as costs are split between riders. All prices are displayed upfront before you request a ride.

So what’s the downside of Lyft Line? Sometimes, you might be the only rider in the car, but other times you may be paired up with two or three other riders. You might have to make multiple stops along the way depending on how many other riders are picked up. If you are in a rush or headed to the airport to catch a flight, taking Lyft Line might not be your best option.

Lyft Line is only available in major cities including Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco. You can view the full list of available cities by visiting https://help.lyft.com/hc/en-us/articles/213815178-Lyft-Line-Pricing.

Lyft Line is similar to UberPOOL

Lyft Plus: The main difference between Lyft and Lyft Plus is the size of the vehicle. Lyft Plus is for passengers who need larger vehicles such as SUVs that can fit at least six people. Prices are more expensive than Lyft or Lyft Line, but when you split the price with six people, the fare could be cheaper in the long run.

Lyft Plus is similar to UberXL.

Lyft Premier: If you want to drive around in a luxury vehicle at an affordable rate, you will want to select Lyft Premier. Though this is the most expensive option, the cars are cool and the service is usually better. Lyft Premier includes vehicles such as BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes.

Lyft Premier is similar to Uber Select.

Lyft drivers are insured and screened to be safe

I have used Lyft and other ridesharing apps countless times and luckily I have never had an issue or been in an accident.

If it’s your first time using Lyft, it might seem strange to get inside a random person’s car. Rest assured that Lyft appears to care about safety.

Though Lyft drivers are independent contractors, the company claims to insure each driver with a $1 million commercial liability. This liability supersedes the personal insurance policy of the driver.

Lyft also takes steps to ensure their drivers are safe and responsible for driving. All drivers must be 21 years old or older and have had a driver’s license for more than one year. Drivers must be interviewed in person and must past criminal and Department of Motor Vehicle background checks.

You can get a price estimate before requesting a ride

If you are worried about the price of your Lyft ride, have no fear! As with Uber, Lyft will give you your estimated fare cost up front before you accept the ride.

All you need to do is set your pickup location and destination and the app will give you your price estimate. You do not need to accept a ride to see this estimate.

In my experience, the price estimate is pretty accurate, sometimes even overestimated.

Watch out for surge pricing which Lyft calls Prime Time

During peak hours, Lyft implements a surge pricing algorithm known as Prime Time. Lyft claims that surge pricing is needed to ensure cars are available during peak rush hours.

Prime Time adds a percentage to the ride subtotal. If the ride you want has a surge, you will notice a percentage added to your price estimate. For example, +25% or +50%. The good thing, the price estimate includes this surge price, so there will be no surprises when you reach your destination.

Riders can tip drivers

Unlike Uber, Lyft allows passengers to tip their driver using their app. Once your ride is complete, you will have the option of using the app to tip your driver $1, $2, $5, or a custom amount. You also have the option of no tip if you choose. If you choose to tip, your total fare and tip will be charged to your preloaded account. No money needs to exchange hands.

It is not required to tip your driver but always appreciated, especially if you have a great experience. I usually tip $1.

Lyft drivers are rated…and so are you

After completing a ride, you can use your Lyft smartphone app to rate your experience with your driver. These ratings help keep drivers at their best which ensure an enjoyable and safe experience.

Drivers with low ratings may be suspended or removed from Lyft program.

On the other hand, Lyft drivers can also rate you, the passenger. Passengers who receive low ratings can also be banned from using Lyft. You should always try to be a respectful passenger when using Lyft.

What is the difference between Uber and Lyft?

This is the question I am asked the most. Uber vs Lyft. What’s the difference? Which is better?

To be honest, they are almost the same. You use an app and request a ride. They both do the same function.

But here are a few differences:

  • With Lyft you can tip through the app. Uber you can’t
  • Uber is offered in many international locations. Lyft is not.
  • Uber has more car options such as Uber LUX.

Some people choose to use Uber and some people choose to use Lyft. It’s a personal choice.

Is Lyft or Uber cheaper?

Another question I am asked a lot. Which is cheaper Uber or Lyft?

The simple answer: sometimes Uber is cheaper and sometimes Lyft is cheaper.

I usually check both apps and see the price estimates, and go with the service that is cheaper at the moment. In my experience, Uber is usually slightly cheaper but this is not always the case.

Conclusion

Lyft is a great service and a strong competitor of Uber.

In my opinion, the difference between Uber and Lyft are negligible. It’s always good to have a competition to keep pricing in check and quality at a certain level.

Uber vs Lyft should not be a question. Just use what you like or whatever is cheaper.

For $5 off your first few Lyft rides, use promo code LYFT36888. Are you looking for an Uber code instead? No problem then, enter in the code at3706ue for $10 off your first Uber ride.

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