Today Lyft announced a new program for drivers called Accelerate, which lets drivers accumulate perks based on ride volume. The rewards range from help with taxes, to car maintenance discounts, to preferred access to contacts at the ridesharing company’s headquarters.
In the tiered program, all Lyft drivers start at the Silver level, which includes support with taxes, health insurance purchases, and vehicle purchases from Intuit, eHealth, and AutoNation Direct, respectively. If a driver completes 20 rides in a month, they graduate to Gold, which provides more than 600 discount programs for health, entertainment, and car maintenance services such as movie tickets, gym memberships, and auto parts. Finally, a driver with 200 rides per month levels up to Platinum, which puts any messages or questions they have for Lyft HQ to the front of the driver support queue.
Accelerate is an expansion of an initial suite of driver services that Lyft announced in January. It is also likely a response to criticism around one of the gig economy’s central labor issues, which is that drivers for ridesharing companies like Lyft and Uber, as well as workers for service companies like Homejoy, Handy, and TaskRabbit, are classified as independent contractors instead of employees. As such, they don’t qualify for benefits, overtime, or other protections, leading some to file suit and attempt to organize.
Just today, Uber announced a magazine for drivers (or “partners” as they call them) called Momentum, an effort to connect with drivers and provide them with lifestyle advice including how to find a toilet on the road and keep fit despite driving all day. Lyft’s new rewards program is certainly more substantive, and may give them an edge in the rapidly growing industry’s competition for drivers, even as issues around employee status continue to be controversial.
(Editor’s note: After this story was posted, Uber got in touch to inform Fast Company of a number of perks it’s rolled over the previous four months that look pretty similar to those made available by Lyft, but without the tiered program: discounts for auto-maintenance retailers, tax prep services, and wireless carriers, health-insurance recommendations, and a pilot program to help drivers finance cars.)