Over the summer I went on a trip to Edmonton and on the way back home, I got myself into a crash at a stop light and wrecked the front end of my car. It was a simple error in judgement and I feel really dumb about it. In the mean time, I still needed income and had the opportunity to try out Lyft Express Drive. In Seattle, this involves going to a location in Renton which is operated by Hertz but only serves the Lyft Express Drive program and is staffed by Lyft folks.
After applying and paying the deposit (for me it was $250) I then set a time to go and sign the paperwork and get the car. First, a Lyft representative sets up the driver account, and then a Hertz agent takes over for the actual rental process. Then that’s it and it’s ready to drive! At the time they didn’t have very many cars on their tiny lot; all of them were 2016 Nissan Sentra sedans so that’s what I got. I’ve since seen other makes including a Prius or two; the availability varies.
The rules of Lyft Express drive are pretty simple: drive a certain number of rides every week to keep the rental, and the weekly cost is deducted from earnings. Because of this, Express Pay is not available even if there’s another car on the account. Also, in lieu of most bonuses aside from Prime Time, there’s a standard Rental Rewards similar to Power Driver – earn up to a certain amount to offset the weekly cost of the rental.
Beyond that, there’s nothing different in terms of driving rides on the app beyond the car being a rental. And, the car can be used for personal trips as well. In some markets there is highway tolling so the car will need to be set up for tolling. Because it is a temporary vehicle I had to email Good2Go, and just email them when the rental is extended or has ended.
The car has to be taken in every four weeks for an inspection as well as an oil change when needed – which is included in the rental cost, as well as to renew of the rental with Hertz. When it’s time to end the rental just choose a time and make sure the car is rental-ready and washed and that’s it. The deposit is returned usually by the following week (following Lyft’s driver pay schedule) and if there’s any costs incurred it’s deducted from that amount.
The hardest part was getting used to driving a different car and getting familiar with the handling as well as the cabin comforts. Learning where the USB, 12V charger and AUX ports are located, as well as how to adjust seat positions and mirrors, and how to open the trunk. Especially important is which side the fuel door is on – since my car is on the driver side, but on Sentra it’s on the passenger side!
Overall it was a simple experience not without its caveats (for example, not being able to drive on other rideshare platforms, and not having express pay.) The cost is certainly more per week than traditional car ownership – in my case around $100 more per week, so it’s fine for a short-term solution but a traditional lease is far more economical in the long-term.
If you want to check out Lyft Express Drive, or if you already have a car and want to start driving for Lyft, just use my link below! The holidays are around the corner… drive and cash in!