Why is Lyft Increasingly Trying to be More Like Uber?

Lyft has continually increased the percentage of drivers who act like cab drivers, don’t speak English well and don’t buy into the Lyft driver culture. Lyft’s decision to go in this direction is polluting the Lyft brand at higher and higher levels.

Uber has no problem hiring cab drivers, because it doesn’t pollute their brand. If you sit in the back and don’t talk to your driver, you don’t care if your driver speaks English well or is “friendly”.

Former cab drivers and most other Uber drivers are much more likely to view driving as their full time job. On the other hand, Lyft-like drivers tend to drive as a way to supplement their existing income. They are much more likely to accept somewhat lower earnings in exchange for the Lyft driver experience. Most Uber drivers couldn’t care less.

Due to the unwillingness of Lyft-only drivers to criticize Lyft policies and take action to convince Lyft to stop polluting the brand, Lyft continues to increase the percentage of drivers who are Uber-like. However, Uber is a whole lot better at delivering what Uber-like drivers want. Lyft will never out-Uber Uber.

As proven at its most extreme in the online Lyft Lounges, strong Lyft advocates to date have been unable to separate their love of the Lyft culture from their love of Lyft management. Criticism of Lyft policies in the Lounges is met with an aggressive “Lyft: Love It Or Leave It” intense peer pressure.

This unwillingness of Lyft-only drivers to criticize Lyft policies also prevents them from convincing Lyft management that they must increase local Lyft marketing. The goal of this marketing must be to recruit Lyft-like riders AND Lyft-like drivers.

By relying only on word of mouth and referral bonuses to recruit drivers, Lyft management has created a self-fulfilling pattern of cab drivers recommending other cab drivers at a faster rate than Lyft-like drivers recommending new drivers who will strengthen the Lyft brand rather than pollute it.

Two-thirds of Lyft drivers also drive for Uber. Increasingly dual drivers care less about actively promoting the Lyft brand. Dual drivers view driving much more as a way of making money, rather than being strong Lyft advocates.

I’m a dual driver and advocate of TNCs as a group wresting market share from taxi medallion owners within the entire market for taxi-like services. The relative market shares of Uber and Lyft are not important to me

However, I have many friends who instead are focused on Lyft’s success within the market space that only includes Lyft and Uber. For their own good, I hope these horrible market share numbers serve as a wake up call for Lyft only drivers. Sometimes a slap to the face is the only way to stop someone from drowning.

Strong Advocates of Lyft:

Reliance on referral cards, word of mouth and the power of positive thinking HAS FAILED.                

The probability of Lyft creating a defensible market share by imitating Uber is extremely low.

  • Does anyone think Lyft can beat Uber in the war to decrease ETA’s?
  • Does anyone think Lyft can beat Uber in a price war?

It’s easy to imagine Lyft moving from a 10% to a 5% range market share unless they change strategy ASAP.

HOWEVER, even if less than 20%, Lyft can create a defensible and ultimately profitable market share by recruiting MORE Lyft-like riders and drivers. Lyft must become more Lyft-like.

Uber doesn’t want to and doesn’t need to be more Lyft-like!!!!

  • Lyft will retain Lyft-like riders; EVEN IF Lyft ETAs are longer than Uber’s, as long as they’re not too much longer.
  • Lyft will retain Lyft-like drivers; EVEN IF driving for Lyft offers earnings less than Uber’s, as long as they’re not too much lower.

Lyft management just doesn’t agree with this strategy and they continue to pollute their own brand. Their strategy has moved Lyft-only drivers down to only a third of all Lyft drivers.

Lyft management has abdicated the mission to save the Lyft brand.

The only way to save the Lyft brand and create a defensible and ultimately profitable Lyft market share is for strong Lyft advocates to convince Lyft management to:

  • Invest money in local marketing to at least get close to the investment that Uber makes in local markets
  • Recruit and retain drivers with a higher quality than Uber’s

Many of you reading this now have been my friends for over a year. I know you guys want to be successful. If you want to be successful you must lead Lyft management, not follow.

You must become leaders now.

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