Did Lyft Backtrack On $1,000 Bonus Promise For New Drivers Or Is It Simply Overwhelmed By Applicants?

In an effort to raise a fleet of drivers for its ride-sharing service, Lyft offered $1,000 bonuses both to new drivers and those referring them last week. But it appears the company might have bitten off more than it can chew after receiving more applications than anticipated, leaving some hopeful drivers without bonuses.

Business Insider reports Lyft announced some of the newly signed-on drivers might not qualify for the referral bonus after all.

According to the original spring driver referral deal – which began February 27 – Lyft would pay $1,000 to new drivers and the current driver who referred them if the new driver completed one ride by March 5.

The only problem is that in order to become a Lyft driver, consumers must fulfill the company’s safety obligations, including driving with a mentor, as well as completing DMV and background checks, which can take days to be finalized.

Making matters worse, the company has reported its approval process is backed-up because of the high enrollment its seen since announcing the promotion.

“This promotion brought the biggest wave of applicants in Lyft history,” an update to the referral promotion states. “It is possible that you won’t qualify for the promotion if your DMV check and background check aren’t completed by the March 5 deadline.”

In some cases, Lyft has extended the ride completion deadline into next week, as long as those drivers have applied, passed their DMV checks and background checks, the company tells Business Insider.

“We owe it to the driver community and our passengers to make sure our approval process is rigorous and complete,” the company said in a follow-up email to potential drivers. “All elements of our safety process are imperative and can take time – that means some applications haven’t been approved yet even though the applicant’s DMV and background checks are in. We know this can be frustrating.”

Unsurprisingly, some potential new drivers questioned Lyft’s intention with the promotion and apparent about-face.

“I’m thinking this either is huge scheme just to get people to sign up and drive,” a member of the UberPeople online forum posted, speculating the company may have taken its time with the background checks to limit the number of referral bonuses issues or simply didn’t anticipate its popularity.

For its part Lyft tells drivers that it won’t use any information from their applications if they don’t qualify for the promotion or if they decide not to pursue a job with the company.

“Lyft learned a lesson this week, and we’re sorry for the frustration it caused you,” an email to potential drivers states. “We vastly underestimated the volume of applications we would receive for our $1,000 sign-on promotion, which was created to help us keep up with record-breaking passenger demand.”

Lyft apologizes for angering potential drivers after it promised eye-popping bonuses [Business Insider]

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