Lyft in the RGV


Wherever you’re planning to visit in the Rio Grande Valley, count on Lyft to take you where you need to go. The transportation network company is among the country’s largest ride-hailing services and has been active in the area since March.
Lyft has done a massive service area expansion and will need drivers in the more remote areas of the country, according to a Facebook post by Lyft specialist Veronica Fennell. The map provided on Lyft’s website, which displays the area of service that will be available in the Valley, stretches from Brownsville to Zapata and well beyond Raymondville. Lyft currently operates in 19 Texas cities.
Ride-hailing companies like Lyft, Uber, and Fasten are becoming more popular in metropolitan areas around the country due to their convenience and ease of use. In fact, Uber joined Lyft in providing rides to passengers in the Rio Grande Valley at the end of June. The service works through an app on your smartphone and connects you with a local driver once you request a ride to a predetermined location. Riders must download the Lyft mobile app to their iOS or Android-based phone, sign up, enter a valid phone number, and enter a valid form of payment (either a credit card, or link to an Apple Pay, Google Wallet, or PayPal account).
Passengers can then request a ride from a nearby driver. Once confirmed, the app shows the driver’s name, ratings by past passengers, and photos of the driver and car. When I used the app, I was picked up from Mercedes by a driver based out of Weslaco with three reviews averaging 4.5 stars. The pick-up time was around 10 minutes in a vehicle that was very clean. My driver was friendly and knew the route well. Overall, it was a fun, safe experience, so I left a nice tip and a 5-star review.
Most drivers are attracted to ride-sharing companies like Lyft because they get to work their own hours and choose their schedule. Although all aspects of the job are doable, it does take effort to make every ride enjoyable and comfortable for their guests.
“The reason I applied is because I’m always looking to find ways to increase my income,” said Rickey Banda, who works as a full-time educator at PSJA ISD. “I love to drive, so I thought, ‘Why not apply?’”
According to Business Insider, Lyft drivers make 11 dollars per ride on average, excluding tip. Drivers would have to give 20 rides a week to make around 10,000 dollars year. Although that amount may not suffice for a full time job, it would make an excellent supplement to their income. Lyft takes a 25 percent commission from total ride earnings.
The application process was a piece of cake, according to Banda, who completed the process over his mobile device. Prospective drivers have to go through background checks with Lyft and other routine verifications before they can drive for the company. Most drivers report that it takes around three to five days for approval.
Banda hopes this will assist him financially but also intends to help develop the RGV community. “There are plenty of citizens that need to go places but due to their situation, most of them don’t have a vehicle to get there,” Banda said. “Lyft will help out to those that need a lift to their destination.”