SFist received a tip this week that a gang of Lyft drivers were might peeved about a lucrative promotion that was dangled by the company and then, apparently, rescinded rather quickly. The deal was that Lyft drivers could refer a friend to become a driver, and if that friend passed his or her background check and took their first fare before a certain deadline, both driver and friend would get $1000 each. It seems a great many of Lyft's fleet took advantage of this call to action and Lyft was inundated with new applications. But for those drivers looking to make a buck who didn't act fast enough, Lyft quickly sent out an email calling off the promotion ahead of schedule.
According to the anonymous driver, who said she and a group of others were planning either a protest at Lyft HQ or a strike of some sort depending on how the company handled matters, drivers suspect the company is intentionally stalling background checks to save themselves some dough. The email announcing the end of the promotion, she said, was sent during a Lyft-sponsored event to recruit new drivers.
And there's more. "Today, they sent out an email warning us that even if background checks are delayed, we will not get the bonuses we rightfully deserve, and many are speculating that they may be intentionally slowing down the process to save money (countless people have been experiencing app errors with the onboarding process, in addition to that last bit of shadiness)."
This driver said she is a full-time, five-star driver working for Lyft for over a year who says she's suffered "months of driver abuse" by the company. "Things have been rough for drivers lately, so if they fail to honor those driver referrals, many of us will be protesting."
SFist contact Lyft for comment on the problem, and received this response from communications manager Paige Thelan. "We saw a tremendous response to last week’s special invitation to applicants, resulting in the biggest wave of applications in Lyft history. This was a time-limited promotion and we're working hard to process applications before the promotion ends, while continuing to maintain our core safety standards. We expect that thousands of people will qualify for the promotion."
Also, she adds, "We're always exploring new ways to welcome drivers to the Lyft platform and will be in touch with updates for applicants who were not able to qualify for the latest promotion, after this promotion concludes."
This snafu follows some months of tension for both Lyft and Uber, which are each the subject of a lawsuit questioning the legality their business model, in which all drivers are treated as independent contractors.
All previous ride-share war coverage on SFist.