Lyft, Inc. develops, markets, and operates a mobile app, offering vehicles for hire, motorized scooters, a bicycle-sharing system, and food delivery. The company is based in San Francisco, California and operates in 644 cities in the United States and 12 cities in Canada.
With a 30% market share, Lyft is the second-largest ridesharing company in the United States after Uber.
Service is generally accessed via mobile app. Users set up a personal profile with a name, phone number, other information, and payment preference, which could be a credit card, e-commerce payment system or, in some cases, cash. After the service is complete, the customer may be given the option to provide a gratuity to the driver, which is also billed to the customer's payment method.
The status of drivers as independent contractors is an unresolved issue. Drivers provide a vehicle, which could be owned, rented, or leased. Drivers must meet requirements for age, health, car age and type, have a driver's license and a smartphone or tablet, and may be required to pass a background check. In many cities, vehicles must pass annual safety inspections and/or must have an emblem posted in the passenger window. Some cities also require drivers to have a business license. There may be accommodations for hearing-impaired drivers. Drivers may be notified before accepting a trip if it will be longer than 45 minutes. After each transaction, drivers and customers may rate each other and users with low ratings may be deactivated.
Lyft provides basic vehicle insurance.
Riders must download the Lyft mobile app to their smartphone, sign up, enter a valid phone number, and enter a valid form of payment (either a credit card, Lyft Gift card, or link to an Apple Pay, Google Wallet, or PayPal account). Once the trip is completed, funds are debited from the funding source.
After a ride is completed, drivers and passengers are given the opportunity to rate each other on a scale of one to five stars. Any driver averaging a low rating by a passenger will not be matched with that passenger again. Lyft does not allow passengers to know their rating. The ratings establish the reputations of both drivers and passengers within the network.