Lyft greenlit a new $100 million investment in an extensive support program aimed at helping its drivers maximize their efficiency and earn more money. The extra funds will go toward maintenance expenses including oil changes and car washes at its driver hubs located in fifteen cities across the United States. The maintenance centers will be almost doubling their hours as a result of the move, with the idea being to offer drivers everything they need to stay on the road without having to worry about additional expenses, thus increasing their profits and encouraging them to work more.
The move is understood to be a concentrated effort at retaining drivers, something that ride-hailing startups around the world have been struggling to do over the course of the last decade. By offsetting some basic expenses incurred by driving, Lyft may be able to poach more drivers from Uber and its smaller rivals, in addition to bettering its driver retention rates, and making a compelling proposition to its existing ones to work more. Besides maintenance costs, the newly greenlit fund will also subsidy tax education, vehicle rentals, and a variety of other services. Lyft had 1.4 million drivers at the end of the last year and is expecting to more than double that figure over the next half a decade. With driver acquisition generally being seen as a costly affair in the industry, retaining its existing partners instead of spending on attracting new ones with even more benefits and advertisements.
TechCrunch reports some perks enabled by the $100 million fund will only be available to drivers who belong to certain tiers based on the number of hours they put in, citing a Lyft spokesperson. Such a move is likely an attempt to purge the number of "double-appers" from the company's ranks, i.e. convince drivers that work for both Uber and Lyft to fully commit to the latter. Should the strategy prove to be successful, Uber may also opt to introduce its own driver support incentives in the near future.