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5 Features For The LYFT/UBER App That Would Enhance Both Driver & Passenger Experience

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Kurt Halfyard, Jan 10, 2019.

By Kurt Halfyard on Jan 10, 2019 at 9:14 AM
  1. Kurt Halfyard

    Kurt Halfyard Moderator Author

    Location:
    Toronto
    Driving:
    Lyft
    [​IMG]
    First off, let us be clear that this is not about increasing driver pay, or lowering passenger cost. Uber and Lyft are not going to pay their drivers more money. Both ride hail companies have been bleeding Venture Capital money by the billions, each and every quarter. They are constantly looking for ways to grow revenue (read: entice Passengers) and minimize cost (read: pay Drivers less).

    I am not going to talk about money.

    If either of these platforms cannot make their driver pool rich, they can at least make them happy (ok, a wee bit happier). The “180 Days of Change” at UBER was, by all accounts, a bust. Outside of adding in-app tipping option (which very few Riders use) there was little gain beyond some snappy public relations to by Dara Khosrowshahi's key driver facing initiative.

    And yet, in the past year, the number of Active Drivers on the road has gone up and up and up. There needs to be better way to nudge passengers towards the better Drivers, and Drivers' diligence and improvement to customer service to be rewarded.

    Uber and Lyft no longer have ‘long pick-up issues’ as there is a saturation of drivers right around the corner. Both platforms are in a good position to implement some of the features, below, to give a better experience to the Passengers and the Drivers. This would be done mainly by ceding control to the parameters of potential rides either by algorithm, or drop-down box in both the Passenger App and the Driver App.

    1. The Car Seat Option


    For Passengers in some markets, this does exist already. Oddly, and likely due to municipal regulation variation it is not in all markets. A protocol for the type of car seat a driver will have to own, maintain, and demonstrate (in my market, it is to the local Fire Department) that they know how to install and use properly.

    If this is communicated to Lyft/Uber, then in the Passenger App, there would be a check box for parents travelling with a small child (or infant) to get a ride from a driver with a car seat. There could be a multiplier for drivers who own multiple available car seats.

    While Passengers may wait a bit longer for pick up (same as XL or Black) they will be getting a legal, safe ride. And some less scrupulous drivers will not be given the temptation of accepting an illegal ride, risking the safety of the child and their license being taken away.

    For Drivers, when a ride is hailed by parents with small children who do not have a legal car (or booster) seat, they should be penalized a $5 cancel fee immediately via a drop-down box in the Driver App. The driver should not have to wait out the 5 minutes, then call customer support to get this fee. Drivers would be happy to not have to do all the run-around because Uber or Lyft has failed to educate their rider base. It would also minimize at-the-curb conflicts, where Riders push back and say, "my last driver took us."

    For drivers who attempt to scam the system (you can be sure a few will) by picking this option for any passenger without 'toes on the curb' (i.e. trying to avoid waiting the 5 minutes prior to cancellation) the system should be smart enough, based on customer complaints and actuarial table frequency to weed out bad-actor drivers.

    2. High Rated Driver Filter for Passengers

    A drop-down box in the Passenger app that would allow Riders to filter out low-rated drivers. The potential rider just dials in a number (say 4.9) and no pings will be issued to a driver less than 4.90.

    Uber/Lyft does not need to charge the passenger extra for the option, the cost to the passenger would be a potential higher wait time, as there will be less drivers nearby due to rating filter.

    Personally, when I am a passenger, I would have the app default locked to 4.9, and be more than happy to wait an extra 2 minutes for a good, responsible driver with a clean car. The benefit to drivers here would be that if you maintain a good rating, you will get more pings. And the benefit to Passengers would be a more consistent ride-hail experience.

    3. Low Rated Passenger Filter for Drivers


    Similar to #2 above. An drop down box in the Driver app that would allow for drivers to enter the lowest rating of passenger they are willing to pick up. The app would only issue pings for Riders that met the criteria. For instance, if a Driver were to enter 4.6, then no pings 4.59 or lower would not be issued to that Driver.
    Acceptance Rates would be preserved. There would be less distractions while driving, as Drivers could now accept all pings without scrutinizing their screen.

    Furthermore, it would also educate Riders to behave better, as there would be real consequences to having a low rating. There would be more incentive to be toes on curb, tipping, and other "Good Pax" behaviours once Riders realized their pick up times are getting longer due to driver filters.

    4. Radius Filters For Drivers

    This would be a drop down box in the Driver's App. It would work by selecting the number of miles (or kilometres if you are not in the United States) which would act as a radius on which Pings would be issued to that particular Driver, based on their willingness to 'drive far' to pick up potential Riders.

    This would effectively eliminate the problem many Lyft drivers experience with exceptionally long (>10 minutes) pick ups and impacted Acceptance Rates, with associated nag emails and texts from the Lyft Mothership.

    If you set the filter to 4 miles, then no pings would be sent to you outside the circle drawn between your current location and the distance radius. To the best of my knowledge the ride hail company Taxify offers this kind of feature as an adjustible circle on the driver app. I would be interested in how effective this has worked for Drivers in Europe and Australia where Taxify operates.

    If you wanted to be really clever, it could be combined with a second 'destination' radius (with a certain number of Driver Destination Filters per day) that would dictate how far the Driver is willing to go from the ping location to the drop-off. This would allow for more flexibility in Drivers managing their time between other non-ride-hailing tasks, and would likely put more drivers on the road, as they can better manage 'filling in the cracks' with confidence and control.

    5. Passenger/Driver Rematch


    This feature would be invisible to both Passengers and Drivers, and baked into the Ping Selection Algorithm for Uber or Lyft. If a Driver rates a Passenger 5 Stars and the Rider rates the Driver 5 Stars then, in the future, there would be a priority-bias in the algorithm within perhaps 2-3 minute extra pick up time to re-match the passenger and rider in the future.

    Both the Driver and Rider would be given a preferred, previously vetted, and potentially good future experience based on past behavior.

    Good Drivers would happy to get extra pings (you could put a text on the Driver’s Ping screen saying something along the lines of ‘Great Passenger Re-Match,’ and likewise on the Rider’s app saying ‘We have Re-Matched you with a preferred Driver.’ I believe this already exists already in some form in the Lyft App, as I get a lot of re-matched Passengers (some times with 5+ minute pick ups) even though my neighborhood is saturated with many, closer drivers.

    BONUS: Green Vehicle Option in Passenger App

    Give the option to Riders to select a green vehicle. There would be no extra charge to the Rider for this, only that the Passenger may have to wait and extra few minutes if no green vehicles are near by.

    This feature would reward drivers who are driving hybrids or electric vehicles, and thus not clogging the streets with extra tail pipe emissions. It would incentivize Drivers to consider these types of vehicles, which would result in better public relations for Uber/Lyft with municipalities (many of which are attempting to lower emissions and improve air quality in a variety of ways) as well as provide an option environmentally conscious Riders.

    Frankly, in 2019, I am surprised this does not exist already, as Uber/Lyft has all the data on all their Driver's Vehicles already. It would be a simple set of criterion on what is a Green Vehicle and what is not, and a tickbox in the App, or a tab alongside X, XL, Select, BLACK and BLACK SUV. Hey App engineers, get on this, STAT.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
    Leea, EmOinDallas, Karl Marx and 6 others like this.
Chemist. Father. Zardoz Fan.
In a former life, I was moonlighting as a Film Critic, writing about world-cinema and genre for various online media, including Rowthree.com and ScreenAnarchy (Formerly TwitchFilm). I still do a few international Film Festivals per year, and run a Poster/Design column as well as contributing interviews and reviews to various sites (TheShelf, InTheSeats, SpectacularOptical, ScreenAnarchy.)

Favorite Films (people always ask; here ordered by release date): The General (1926); M (1933); The Maltese Falcon (1941); Singing In The Rain (1952); High & Low (1963); Seconds (1966); 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968); F For Fake (1973); The Conversation (1975); Alien (1979); Blade Runner (1982); Big Trouble In Little China (1985); The 'Burbs (1989); Out Of Sight (1998); Eyes Wide Shut (1999); Catch Me If You Can (2002); Master & Commander (2003); There Will Be Blood (2007); The Counselor (2013); The Neon Demon (2016)

Currently, and for the last 20 years, I've been working as a materials chemist for Xerox, with my name on 26 US Patents for various consumables and technologies: Inks, toners, elastomers, printed electronics.

Drives Lyft part time.

Comments

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Kurt Halfyard, Jan 10, 2019.

    1. Mista T
      Mista T
      Good article. You are right on the money. These companies could easily implement these zero-cost options, and more .
    2. Talcire
      Talcire
      Good ideas. I always thought some kind of symbol or badge that indicates a rider / account holder tips on 51% of rides. That would help me decide to accept a ride that I might be hesitating on (due to distance away / traffic to location / opposite direction of civilization).
      METRO3, Solid 5, BigRedDriver and 2 others like this.
    3. LIsuberman
      LIsuberman
      In your radius filter for drivers I would like to see an option to limit driver drop-off to a certain millage - distance wise - let the driver choose how far they are willing to go in miles. And lyft should be forced to add a town to their address when it finally reveals where you are going. Main street can be anywhere !
      METRO3 and Kurt Halfyard like this.
    4. Kurt Halfyard
      Kurt Halfyard
      Yup. that is the second Radius (aka DESTINATION Radius Filter, described in the final paragraph under #4) I'd be perfectly fine only getting a few of these a day like the regular destination filter.

      I have heard it voiced internally from LYFT that many of these features have not been implemented due to the potential for DRIVERS SCAMMING them - particularly the Car Seat Instant-$5-Cancel fee (if parents have toddler and no car seat, but ping a driver in the hopes the driver will take them illegally).

      I remain unconvinced with this argument, and would like to see it play out in the real world, and not the software-engineer-paranoia world.
      Solid 5 likes this.
    5. Dammit Mazzacane
      Dammit Mazzacane
      Let me play devil’s advocate for a moment and say that many of these feature ideas could create service delays or gaps that TNCs do not want to see at any cost.
      * The car seat option is worthwhile except for liability risks on the driver if it is installed incorrectly but represented as a safe car seat, or if the car seat exists but is damaged or “expired”.
      * The driver rating limit is reasonable, but could create gaps in service if I’m in a rural area and won’t take under 4.9. It also can be manipulated to strike down passenger ratings “no cash tip? 3 stars!” “Tip in the app? Yeah right!”
      * The passenger rating limit is highly executable, but invokes more fear in drivers about rating anxiety. Uber might already be tweaking the favoritism algorithm with its Uber Pro scheme, though, as you mone prong is you must have a 4.8 or higher to be eligible.
      * The radius filters could create dead zones in neighborhoods. However, definitely appreciate the idea.
      * The rematch idea could be manipulated, but not sure how.

      This is all devil’s advocate commentary though.

      and
      * the green car option would not influence drivers to replace their vehicles with fuel-efficient vehicles if they are “running what they’ve got”. However, it seems like a reasonable zero-cost PR boost. It might cause dismay to some people who may now subconsciously consider the vehicle in rating the driver. “Well I really wanted a green car but none were available so I guess I’m riding with you in your Camry / Accord / Malibu / Fusion / etc. today... you inconsiderate jerk. I mean at least it’s quicker than MASS TRANSIT. Got an aux cord?”
    6. Nats121
      Nats121
      You're incorrect.

      The DRIVERS are the ones bleeding cash every quarter, NOT the investors.

      Uber's been in business for approximately 10 years, and in that time frame, their investors have kicked in a total of around $17.3 billion, according to Bloomberg.

      Being paid 1970s taxi rates since 2014 has cost the drivers VASTLY MORE than $17 billion in lost earnings, which means the drivers are the ones taking it on the chin, not the investors.

      It's the investors who are looking at a potential $120 IPO windfall, NOT the drivers.

      You're free to talk about whatever you want, but MONEY is far far far away the biggest concern of the drivers.

      In many markets, including mine, drivers have been whacked yet again with a pay cut. That's in addition to the loss of surge pay, the virtual elimination of boost, and the slashed quests.
      Sorry, but I disagree with your use of ratings as the measuring stick of how "good" a driver is.

      The ratings system is seriously flawed, and rewards drivers who play it safe and punishes drivers who are willing to give rides to high risk pax and/or work in low income areas.

      KNOWING THE DESTINATIONS IN ADVANCE, which was not on your list, would be the GAME CHANGER for the drivers.
    7. Kurt Halfyard
      Kurt Halfyard
      This point is interesting, because the RADIUS FILTERS I mention in the article would get around naked-destination-discrimination. LYFT/UBER wants to avoid because it would put us back (GAME CHANGE to the PAST) into the racial/social/class discrimination in the cabbie world. Specifically in picking put certain types of passengers going to certain neighborhoods, and not others. UBER has enough bad PR that they certainly do not want to go there.

      This article was an attempt to get at a middle ground that would benefit drivers and passengers (and thereby scaling up to benefit to the mother-corporation) in kind of a win-win.

      It was not about giving drivers pie-in-the-sky things that are NOT going to happen, (like increase in Rate Cards). The best way to increase drivers pay is to reward the good drivers and cull the bad-ants. Giving priority rides to higher rated drivers, and allowing drivers to more tune their driving to their schedule, and create the circumstances for great experiences on both sides of the driver/passenger equation would have the good drivers and good passengers come away from the service with the rando-casino type weirdness that happens due to unsophistication of Driver and Passenger App choices.
      Rene De Car likes this.
    8. Nats121
      Nats121
      First of all, my vehicle is not public transportation, so I don't give a rat's ass about so-called destination discrimination.

      Radius filters would not shield drivers from accusations of redlining, especially if a minority neighborhood is just outside the radius


      Uber doesn't give a shit about discrimination.

      Uber ENGAGED in redlining in the old days when they were offering decent boosts. Here in DC and other markets, boosts were nowhere to be found in minority wards in DC, causing frequent surges.

      So uber's redlining of those areas resulted in the residents of those wards being forced to pay higher prices for their rides than pax from many other areas of the city.

      I've already pointed out the flaws of that policy.
    9. Kurt Halfyard
      Kurt Halfyard
      We can agree to disagree on this matter.
    10. possibledriver
      possibledriver
      1) Car seats...I drive a Scion XD. It has plenty of passenger space but very little luggage space. I'd lose a lot of good drives by carrying a car seat around. It's the parents' job to have a car seat with them. No car seat, no ride

      4&5...I use mystro and filter by pax rating and time to pick up. It suto acceps the ride and logs you out of the other apps. When you drop off it logs you back in the other. I have both apps set for minimum pax rating of 4.70. Lyft always lies about pick up time so I have it filtered to no more than 5 minutes away. Uber is filtered to no more than 7 minutes away. Above those limits it gives you the ping but you choose to accept or not as usual.
    11. Amsoil Uber Connect
      Amsoil Uber Connect
      Nope nope nope, Drop the Green vehicle . Period.

      #5 On lyft, do you know just how many get 4*'ed cause they didn't leave tip ? But you would still take them again.!
      So your belief is that no tip is a 5* Pax ?

      #4 Although I like the idea of a radius filter. Discrimination laws will not let that happen.

      #3 Probably not going to happen. We have all had a few that have been fine and wonder the why behind it, however, I would like to see in the pax app to encourage pax to tip to bring that up.

      #2 I think Lyft is all ready doing this. There just not going to tell you. Here in the IE and at Ont Airport again I think Lyft skipped over a bunch of drivers (again) could be because of the IEHP trips we sometimes get. I have never turned one down and got matched with a severly handy capped person in a chair a couple of days ago, they had a helper with them though. I also think I get my fair share of 45+ cause have never turned one down.

      #2a. Its been rumored and proven here that uber will skip over other drivers who are less than 4.90 Its happened to me once that I know of at JWA. Cause my rating happend to higher than that.

      #1. I would like to see a release of Liability / no vault on the drivers part after invesigation, form on the pax app for them to sign. That's not going to happen though.

      ps, 4yrs Uber, 3 yrs lyft.
    12. Fargle
      Fargle
      1. Effective mechanism for dealing with feedback scammers and putting back ratings. Every Halloween and New Year these assholes do it.
      2. If no feedback left by rider within 2 days, automatic 5 star or else not possible to leave feedback.
      3. Hire support staff with a mental age of at least 20. Fire the functionally illiterate morons.
      4. Increase rates to something just below cab rates.
      5. Put the accept button back at the top of the screen. At the bottom results in lots of unwanted acceptances.
      6. Follow the laws regarding defensive weapons rather than making up BS.
      7. Stop hiding the cancel button.
      8. Keep street names and maps accurate and up to date. If a street had a name change before Uber started in that town, that's a problem.
      9. Fix the ridiculous destinations bugs. For instance, a hotel near a freeway where the pin drop is on the freeway, other side of the freeway, or a half mile away in the apartment complex on the other side of the block.
      10. Stop encouraging bad behavior.

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