20 Feb Lyft will soon let you pay for a slightly more comfortable ride
Lyft is following in Uber’s tire tracks, introducing a two-month pilot program charging passengers for the luxury of a highly-rated driver. It’s called “Lyft Preferred,” and will be rolling out in the U.S. over the next few weeks.
Under Lyft Preferred, qualifying drivers can earn an extra fee for shuttling about slightly pickier passengers. Accordingly, riders can pay extra to ensure a more comfortable ride. It’s a potentially useful option for when you’re having A Day and want to give yourself a little extra care.
Largely, Lyft Preferred drivers will simply have to continue operating as they have been. The only difference is that they’ll be notified a ride is Preferred before accepting it, and will be told how much extra they’ve earned at the end of the trip.
A Lyft spokesperson told Mashable the program’s pay structure hadn’t yet been decided upon, so we don’t know exactly how much more parties will be spending and earning. As such, it’s too early to say whether passengers will find Lyft Preferred worth the added cost. However, Lyft did confirm that drivers who participate in the pilot program will receive a bonus after each Lyft Preferred ride.
To be a Lyft Preferred driver, drivers must have a rating of 4.9 or above, at least 300 lifetime rides, and no flags for a dirty vehicle within the last 20 rides. They must also drive a car manufactured no later than 2014, with at least 37 inches of leg room.
I’m picturing drivers pulling their seats forward until their chests hit the steering wheel.
Eligible drivers must also be operating in one of the 23 major U.S. cities that will be rolling out Lyft Preferred over the next few weeks. The cities currently included in the pilot program are Albuquerque, Atlanta, Charlotte, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Houston, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Oklahoma City, Ottawa, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Savannah, Seattle, Tampa, and Toronto.
Lyft stated the criteria for becoming a Lyft Preferred driver may change in response to feedback, so it’s possible it might eventually incorporate features similar to Uber Comfort‘s temperature and conversation preferences.
Drivers may be eager to sign up for the program and earn a little extra change, but there’s currently no way for them to opt in or out. Instead, Lyft has selected eligible drivers and has automatically included them in the pilot.
Those drivers will be informed of their good fortune from Feb. 19, though passengers will have to wait until Feb. 21 to ride Preferred.