How Does Lyft Work? - What To Know To Ride in 2024

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These days, people are busier than ever and need a source of reliable transportation to get from point A to point B and everywhere in between.

Lyft's service is used by more than 23 million people all over the world. It is a leading taxi alternative transportation service.

From picking up groceries to rides to doctor's offices and airports, Lyft can do it all. It's convenient and easy to use, even as a long-distance carpool.

But what is Lyft, and how does it work? If you want to know how to use the Lyft app, keep reading to discover all about this transportation service. We’ve got you covered every step of the way.

What Is Lyft?

Lyft is known as a rideshare company that first started in summer of 2012. It is a great alrenative to taxis and cab services. This means individuals with the proper insurance and qualifications can use their cars to pick people up requesting a ride.

It is one of the smartphone apps that everyone needs because you can use it for scooter rides, bike rides and car rides.

Users can access the service through the website or use the mobile Lyft app.

Lyft ride sharing was founded in June 2012 by Logan Green and John Zimmer and is headquartered in San Francisco, California.

The company has grown to become one of the top transportation companies in the United States.

In addition, to Lyft cars, riders can easily unlock bike, scooters. Very similar to Uber, the app also integrates third-party public transit data.

Today Lyft is a public company. It began trading on the Nasdaq on March 29 2019 under the ticker symbol LYFT.

how does lyft work

How Does Lyft Work?

If you need a ride, you’ll need to register for a Lyft account. You must be 18 years old to create an account and use the services.

If you do not qualify, we suggest you consult our guide with all the transportation services for minors.

The process takes seconds, and we’re here to help you at each step.

Download the App and Sign Up

If you don't have the app, you can download the Lyft mobile app for Android from the Google Play store on your phone or download through the Apple store for your iPhone. Once the app finishes downloading, just tap to open and create your account.

The app will ask you for a phone number to verify your identity and send you notifications regarding your rides.

In order to use the platform you need to add a payment method. Lyft doesn’t take cash. Accepted payment methods include debit or credit card, gift cards. You can also pay for rides with PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay.

You'll need to upload a profile photo for identification purposes so the drivers can find you. You can also input your home and work addresses to save for easier pickups and drop-offs when requesting a ride.

Summarizing: find below all the steps to create your passenger account.

  • You cellphone number
  • A username and password
  • Your home address
  • A payment method
  • An optional photo

Requesting a Ride on Lyft

When you need to set up a ride, open the app and a screen will ask you where you are going and where you need to be picked up from.

Input your location and your destination and you will see a list of cars available nearby. Using the app you can choose between different ride services including:

  • Lyft: for one to four passengers when you are in a rush
  • Shared Lyft line: It is the carpooling option that allows you to share Lyft ride for a cheaper rate (momentanely suspended)
  • Lyft XL: for one to six passengers or if you ride to the airport with a lot of luggage.
  • Lyft Lux: for one to four passengers with a more luxurious car
  • Lux Black: Very similar to Uber Black. You can book luxury rides for special occasions up to four passengers
  • Lux Black XL: for black car service up to six passengers

Once you choose your ride mode, you will get the estimated ride cost on the screen. You will even get an estimated time of arrival.

The app uses location services to help the driver navigate to your destination.

You can set up your ride for a pickup as soon as possible or schedule it for a future date and time.

If you are satisfied with this information, tap on the car service and price and then tap Select Lyft. It will ask you to confirm your pickup location by dragging an area marker on a map. Or you can search for your specific location's address.

You can add a note for your driver to find you easier, such as what color shirt you will be wearing, or if you want them to honk when they pull up so you know when to come out.

Setting Up Your Lyft Ride

Once you hit the purple Confirm and Request button, you will be taken to another screen showing your driver's car color and model, as well as their license plate number. You will be able to see their profile picture and name and their rating.

A map will be shown with your driver's location and an estimate of how long it will take them to arrive. If any problem should arise or they cannot find your location, your driver will call the phone number on your profile to get in touch with you.

Once your driver arrives, check that the car color, profile picture, and license plate number match the one on your screen's app. This is for added protection to ensure someone posing as a Lyft driver isn't trying to pick up passengers.

You should confirm your driver's name with them and they should confirm that they know your name as well.

Taking Your Ride

With an update to the Lyft's Health Safety Guidelines, the ride sharing app changed the mask policy for drivers and riders. When you get into the car, riders and drivers are no longer required to keep the front seat empty or the windows open. The COVID-19 protocols are not anymore in place. You mustn’t wear a mask over your mouth and nose for the duration of the trip. Wearing a mask is now optional for everyone in the car.

Of course, riders and drivers should continue to not use Lyft if they have COVID-19 or any related symptoms.

Put on your seatbelt. You can track your trip's progress on your phone. You can even share your trip with a friend or family member on the app so they know when you will arrive or reach your destination safely.

When you have completed your ride, your credit card on file will be charged for your ride. You can also tip your driver in the app for up to 24 hours from the initial ride and leave feedback via a written review and a star rating.

Drivers can also rate their passengers from 1 to 5 and leave reviews for unruly or combative riders. Too many negative reviews can result in an account ban. This tells other drivers to be wary of low-scoring passengers.

Lyft Vehicle Requirements

The San Francisco headquartered company has a standard set of requirements for the vehicles that can drive for their program. The vehicle must be registered for private use.

Vehicle requirements include cars that must have a capacity for 5-8 people with the driver included. There must also be an equal amount of seatbelts. All vehicles must have 4 doors.

A vehicle's age requirement varies from state to state but generally must be a 2003 or 2004 model or newer. The vehicle must pass yearly inspections and not have any outward damage. Vehicles must also post the Lyft emblem in the window.

Lyft offers drivers the opportunity to rent a vehicle through a flexible car rentals program called Express Drive.

Lyft Driver Requirements

Lyft drivers must be 21 years of age or older with at least 1 year of driving experience in most states, but for California, it is 25 or older.

Rideshare drivers must also complete and pass a background check and must have a clean driving record and a current driver's license for the state they are driving in. Drivers must supply a valid social security number, and no DUIs or convictions can be on record.

Driving with Lyft is a great opportunity to make money especially during Prime Time.

Benefits of Using the Lyft App


This is one of the main reasons why people prefer using Uber and Lyft instead of Taxi cabs.

Lyft has a system of upfront prices, you will always get an estimated price range before you request a trip.

Tipping on the platform is always an option. You can leave a tip to your driver if you are happy with the service.

However, in major cities and during holidays like New Year's Eve, and even on busy days the price of the rides can increase exponentially with the surge pricing.

If you are a frequent user, you can save money on ride and bike sharing by signing up for the Lyft Pink membership.

The membership program offers perks on car rides such as 15% discount, priority airport pickups and more. You can choose the annual plan or the monthly membership that costs $19.99 a month.


The urban mobility environment has been transformed by on demand transport services based on smart phone apps like Lyft and Uber.

The Lyft app allows you to hail a ride and pay for it in a minute. Instead of chasing down a taxi on a street, or calling and waiting for a car service.

Lyft has over 1.4 million drivers and the average pickup time is 10 minutes.


When it comes to transportation safety is one of the most important aspects. Uber or Lyft are safe companies.

All the drivers on the platform are background checked . Additionally Lyft started banning drivers with low ratings.

Lyft trust and safety team phone number can be reached from the app just tapping on a button.

Things To Consider About the Lyft App

Cancellation Fees

Canceling a ride is quick and easy. However, If you cancel a ride once the driver accepts your request, you will be charged with cancellation fees. Take a look at our guide to Lyft refund

This means that you have to be quick as well canceling your ride request.

There Is A Travel Limit

Are you planning a long distance ride? You will not be able to use the Lyft app which does not support rides that exceed a distance 100 miles total and crossing international borders.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is There Lyft In Puerto Rico?

Lyft is not available in Puerto Rico. As of today Lyft operates in 644 cities in the United States and 12 cities in Canada.

Can I Order Lyft Without the App?

If you don’t have a smartphone, you can still get rides but instead of using the app, you will have to use the official Lyft website.

The website allows users to get the same results without having to download the Lyft passenger app at all.

Which is Better, Uber or Lyft?

When choosing a rideshare company the choice can be the hardest. The fight of Uber vs. Lyft will likely never have a real winner. Both offer a lot of great features and a similar experience. Keep in mind that often contractor workers drive for Uber and Lyft at the same time.

If you are an international traveler, Uber is probably the right option. You will be able to book a ride in different countries including Italy and France, Uber in Cancun .

If you are a frequent user, Lyft offers great advantages through their membership subscription Lyft Pink.

Rideshare Information and More on BestReferralDriver

So, how does Lyft work? It provides convenience for finding a ride near you with the touch of a button. The app's simple user interface gets you connected with a driver in a matter of minutes.

If you are new to the rideshare platform you can use our promo code to get free rides credit.

If you are interested in driving for Lyft, check out BestReferralDriver for more information on rideshare services and gig economy work. Make extra money on the side with grocery and food delivery service jobs.

Find out how you can get a driver bonus for signing up to drive for Lyft today on BestReferralDriver.


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