Lyft’s Driver Advisory Council (DAC) as opposed to the later Uber version, started in 2016 after Uber hit some serious driver lash back issues. Lyft CEO John Zimmer is a man that prefers preventative actions to assure that problems do not arise. As such, he initiated the DAC and flew out a few drivers from all over the US to a secret location in the Bay Area of CA. This first LDAC produced some interesting results.
The 2016 Driver Advisory Council Meeting
Nine drivers attended the meeting together with John Zimmer and a few Lyft Executives. The end game of the meeting was mainly around the price cuts that affected the driver’s income and understanding that Uber’s price cuts were put in place to force out the competition.
The end of the meeting produced the following results, Lyft agreed to:
- Remove the 200% cap on prime time.
- Change the referral bonus payouts
- Funding more community meetings
- Set-up the permanent Driver Advisory Council (DAC)
Lyft’s Driver Advisory Council (DAC)
Let’s start off by stating that the DAC is made up of a group of volunteer’s drivers that were chosen to represent the entire Lyft community. This is not a union; there is no union in play, no branches, meetings or elections. The purpose of the DAC which was set up by the Lyft executive board was to provide a ground level sounding board from their only source of income, the driver.
The incentive that the DAC member shave of volunteering their time (meeting logistics are paid for by Lyft) is to make sure that the Lyft Executive knows the ground level feelings toward operational functions, app features, and payment structures. In other words, Lyft want’s the drivers to be “happier” about changes than before.
The DAC members take their roles very seriously, their decisions affect the lives of every Lyft driver, which means hundreds of thousands of families, and that means the DAC directly affects the lives of millions of people all around the US and Canada.
As with any modern corporate culture, there are keywords and core structures in play, with Lyft they are the 3P’s. These are:
Let’s look at some of the active DAC outcomes that are in direct relation to these 3Ps.
Lyft DAC rep in Boston, Qas met with Product Managers and Engineers. The DAC members work together with Lyft’s product and engineering tea, to help in the development and upgrade of app features. Some of these product changes and upgrades include:
- Add a “Night Mode” feature to the app.
- Making a friendlier GUI for the earnings screen showing Lyft’s fees from each ride.
- Extending the passenger rating to 24 hours after a ride.
- Allowing drivers preapproval to change the number of passengers in a Lyft Line.
- Stopped Lyft from allowing passengers to make drivers wait to use a very low nominal fee.
Before Lyft releases new promotions and brands, DAC is asked for their opinion, and this is reflected in the marketing decision making process. For example:
- Stopping the “Taco Mode” mode that causes drivers a lot of damage from drunks and Taco Bell passengers.
- Providing DAC Advice and insights on “Roundup & Donate.”
- Providing DAC advice on Lyft’s partnerships with Budweiser and Disney.
Lyft policy is a non-app related influence on drivers, its where the operational side of the system is considered and then integrated into operating procedures. For example:
- DAC helped in reducing the cancellation fee qualification time from 5 to 2 minutes.
- Made Lyft Line rates equal to regular Lyft rides.
- Removing the Destination Filter cap.
- Enabling cancellation of “stacked” ride requests so that it does not affect the acceptance or cancellation rate.
- Initiate an Uber-style rating protection program.
The Taco Bell Horror
Lyft initiated the Taco Bell mode to try and help drunks get sober by forcing drivers to take all drunks through a Taco Bell drive through. The passenger would get a taco to fill their stomachs, and drivers would get a mess and nothing else.
This was stopped by the DAC, and the concept never left the drawing board, especially since none of the designers had ever driven for Lyft before.
Passenger Waiting Time Nominal Fee
Einstein’s theory of relativity works in ridesharing too, the longer you wait for a passenger, the longer the time seems to stretch and the more impatient the driver gets. Now, if you were to pay the driver for that psychological meltdown of frustration, then all would be great. However, in E=MC2 the designers of the concept forgot that the faster you reach light speed, the more energy you need, and they didn’t add the E. So, DAC got involved and stopped this idiocy. They basically told Lyft that letting passengers feel secure in taking time would lead to even longer waiting times, and $0.10 per minute is not only starvation money, but it is also tantamount to lunacy.
DAC successfully gave the Lyft engineers a lesson in theoretical physics, and all ended well.
Contacting Your DAC Member
Every DAC member is listed on the Lyft site, and you can get their contact info. If you have an issue or an idea you should contact your DAC representative, so they can prepare for the next meeting with as much information from the street.
Just know that being a DAC member has responsibilities, you must be a driver as well as be in a constant vigil for incoming requests from other drivers and be proactive with Lyft.
Joining Lyft’s Driver Advisory Council
If you want to become a DAC member, you need to drive actively and apply. The application process is annual, and new drivers are chosen every August. The application process is sort of like a job interview, and once you pass the interview, Lyft will decide which candidates will become the years DAC.
Lyft’s Driver Advisory Council is unique to the rideshare scene and in my opinion the gig economy scene. The way DAC has become an integral part of Lyft’s decision-making prices sis proof of Zimmer’s dedication to providing a continuously improving solution for drivers and passengers alike.
The bottom line is that DAC makes an impact on important issues that if left unchecked would impede both the driver and Lyft from reaching operational excellence. The DAC is also a great way of preventing pent up frustration from blowing up every month into legal battles and demands for unionization.
Aman Bhangoo is the co-founder of Uber Drivers – Ridesharing Forum who helps rideshare drivers and riders to find answers to their most pressing questions. With over 3.5 years of experience, Aman brings a vast amount of knowledge, style, and skills to help fellow drivers. He has given over 18,000 rides with Uber and more than 6,800 rides with Lyft.