Lyft, like Uber, built its business on the backs of drivers. But what happens to drivers and their concerns, from pay to worker rights, once the companies start feeling pressures from Wall Street to make money?
Drivers and analysts tell CNN Business they aren’t so sure things will improve, but the companies would be smart to try.
As a token of goodwill to drivers, Lyft granted cash bonuses to drivers who meet certain ride thresholds – $1,000 for 10,000 trips or $10,000 for 20,000 trips – ahead of the IPO that they could opt to put toward stock.
San Francisco-based Lyft driver Jay Cradeur, who is eligible for the smaller of the bonuses, said drivers who were eligible for the bonus program were given a deadline to purchase shares on Thursday evening once the final pricing was set. Once his shares hit $100, he plans to sell.
NYU professor Arun Sundararajan says driver happiness is important to building long-term brand affinity.
“The driver is the face of the brand,” he said. “The entire experience is controlled by the person whose car you get into – if they’re projecting, ‘I’m underpaid and unhappy,’ that’s not going to be a good experience.”