Lyft Express Drive: How to Drive for Lyft If You Don’t Own a Car
Driving for Lyft is an easy way to earn some extra money or even replace your full-time income. As long as you have a qualifying vehicle, can pass a background check, and possess a modern smartphone, you can drive for Lyft.
But what if you’re missing one of the key pieces above? What if you don’t have a vehicle that meets the Lyft requirements (or don’t own a vehicle at all)? You might think that you’re out of luck when it comes to driving for Lyft.
That isn’t quite true. Through the Lyft Express Drive program, you can rent a vehicle to drive for Lyft. In this guide, we’ll take a look at how Lyft Express Drive works, as well as how to get started using the program.
- What Is Lyft Express Drive?
- Reasons to Use Lyft Express Drive
- Lyft Express Drive Cities
- Lyft Express Drive Requirements
- Lyft Express Drive Cost
- How to Use Lyft Express Drive
- Lyft Express Drive FAQ
What Is Lyft Express Drive?
Lyft’s Express Drive program lets eligible drivers rent a car to drive for Lyft. Express Drive is a weekly rental program with no long-term contracts. It functions like a mix between a rental car company and a vehicle lease.
Unlike these programs, however, Express Drive rentals have no contracts or hidden fees. What’s more, Express Drive rentals come with unlimited mileage and insurance. This way, it’s easy to get on the road quickly and safely.
Reasons to Use Lyft Express Drive
If you’ve never heard of the concept, then the Lyft Express Drive program can seem a bit strange. Why wouldn’t you just use your own car to drive for Lyft? And if you don’t have a car, why wouldn’t you just buy one?
There are a variety of reasons that Lyft Express Drive might be a good fit for you as a potential Lyft driver. To start, your personal vehicle might not meet the Lyft driver requirements. While most vehicles made in the last 10 years or so will qualify, yours might not due to either its age or design. If this is the case, then Lyft Express Drive can help you get a qualifying vehicle without any trouble.
Another reason to use Lyft Express Drive is that you simply don’t want to use your personal vehicle for Lyft driving. Perhaps you own a rare or custom vehicle that you don’t want strangers touching. Or, you simply don’t want to put a bunch of additional miles on your main car. In these cases, Lyft Express Drive can give you a vehicle to use only for Lyft driving (without having to worry about your personal vehicle).
Finally, you might want to use Lyft Express Drive because you don’t own a car at all. If you live in a big city with walkable streets or robust public transit, then owning a car for personal use might not make sense. However, it could make sense to rent a car to drive for Lyft due to all the extra money it could earn you.
Lyft Express Drive Cities
Before we go any further, we should note that Lyft Express Drive isn’t available in all cities. It’s available in a large number of cities across the U.S., but it hasn’t reached every market (yet). Lyft continues to expand the service of Express Drive to additional markets, so don’t despair if your city isn’t on the list below.
Here’s everywhere Lyft Express Drive currently operates:
- Dallas/Fort Worth
- Las Vegas
- Los Angeles
- New Orleans
- New York
- Orange County
- Salt Lake City
- San Antonio
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- San Jose
- Tampa Bay
- Washington, D.C.
Lyft Express Drive Requirements
Now that you know whether or not Express Drive is available in your city, we can get into the requirements to use Express Drive. Don’t worry — the requirements are not super strict. Most people who qualify to drive for Lyft in the first place will also qualify for Express Drive.
Here are the driver requirements for Lyft Express Drive:
- Be at least 25 years old (note that this is higher than the regular Lyft age requirement of 21 years)
- Pass a criminal background check
- Pass a DMV check
- Have a valid driver’s license in good standing
Unlike when driving for Lyft with your personal vehicle, you don’t have to worry about insurance or passing a vehicle inspection. Express Drive includes insurance with all rentals, and all rental vehicles have already passed any necessary inspections.
The only other special requirement to be aware of with Express Drive is that the program requires you to bring your vehicle in every 28 days for inspection and routine maintenance. While this can seem inconvenient, it’s actually a benefit since you don’t have to pay for maintenance yourself.
Lyft Express Drive Cost
Lyft Express Drive is a convenient, useful program, but how much will it cost you? Lyft Express Drive uses a simple, transparent pricing structure. There’s a weekly rate for each rental, plus either a refundable deposit or a non-refundable starter deposit (this depends on your market).
Compared to the rental fees you might pay at other places, Lyft Express Drive is refreshingly simple. The rental fee is predictable, and the earnings from driving should more than offset the weekly rental costs. What’s more, Lyft automatically deducts the cost from what you earn each week, which makes the payment process quite simple.
Rental payments are due each week that you’re using the car, and you can cancel any time (though you will still be on the hook for any week that you’ve already paid for). This makes the program a flexible way to test driving for Lyft without a long-term commitment.
To find out how much Express Drive costs in your city, visit the Lyft Express Drive website.
How to Use Lyft Express Drive
So how exactly do you sign up for Lyft Express Drive? The application process is quite similar to signing up to drive for Lyft using your personal vehicle.
To get started, visit the Express Drive application page, enter your phone number, and agree to Lyft’s Terms of Service.
From there, enter your first name, last name, email address, city, and a promo code (if you have one). If you’re looking for a promo code to use, we recommend RIDEON2019 (though you can also use a friend’s or family member’s if you know someone who already uses Express Drive).
Once you’ve done that, Lyft will ask you a few more questions to determine your eligibility. You’ll need to upload an image of your driver’s license, enter your SSN (for background check purposes), and consent to a background check.
After you’ve done all that, you’ll need to wait to hear if you’re approved. Assuming Lyft approves your application, they’ll contact you with the details of where you can conduct your vehicle pickup.
Lyft Express Drive FAQ
Now that we’ve covered how Lyft Express Drive works, let’s answer some common questions new and prospective users have about the program:
1. How is Express Drive different from a traditional vehicle rental?
Express Drive differs from rental companies like Hertz or Enterprise in some important ways. To start, it’s a program specifically designed for Lyft drivers.
While you could theoretically use a rental car from any company to drive for Lyft, you run the risk of both violating the company’s terms of service and making life more difficult than it needs to be.
With Express Drive, you can rest assured that any vehicle you get is approved to drive for Lyft both on the rental company’s and Lyft’s end. You also don’t have to worry about your rental expiring while you still need it to drive for Lyft.
2. Am I eligible for Express Pay if I use Lyft Express Drive?
Yes, but there are some conditions. Before you can use Express Pay, you must have earned at least as much as your weekly rental costs.
For instance, if you’re paying $200 per week for your Express Drive rental, you need to earn at least $200 for giving Lyft rides before you can cash out.
Any money you earn above the rental cost is eligible for Express Pay in exchange for the same $0.50 fee that all Lyft drivers pay to use the Express Pay service.
3. Can I use Express Drive vehicles for personal use?
Yes, you’re welcome to use Express Drive when you’re not driving for Lyft. In this way, Express Drive functions like a normal vehicle rental or lease.
4. Do I have to give a minimum number of Lyft rides with Express Drive?
Yes, you must give at least 20 rides every seven days in order to keep your Express Drive vehicle.
5. What are Rental Rewards?
The more Lyft rides you give, the less you pay for your Express Drive rental. This is the premise of Lyft’s Rental Rewards program. To qualify for this discount on your rental, you need to meet a few conditions:
- Meet the ride count requirement — To get Rental Rewards, you need to give a certain number of rides each week. The required number varies depending on your city, and there are usually different tiers to the program. That is, you’ll get a lower rate for giving more rides.
- Meet the peak ride requirement — Besides meeting the ride count requirement, you’ll also need to give a minimum number of peak rides. These are rides given during Lyft’s busiest hours (think rush hour or weekend nights). The peak hours will vary depending on your city. You can view your specific peak ride requirements in your Lyft driver dashboard.
- Maintain at least a 90 percent acceptance rate — This part is easy — just accept all the ride requests you get. Of course, you might have to cancel a ride from time to time, but you should avoid doing so to remain eligible for Rental Rewards.
Curious what Rental Rewards can look like in practice? Here’s an example straight from Lyft’s website showing potential savings for an Express Drive user in Denver:
6. Does Express Drive include gas?
No, it does not. While Lyft Express Drive does have the benefits of including insurance and maintenance, you still have to pay for gas yourself (just like with a regular rental car).
7. Are Express Drive users eligible for Lyft bonuses?
Yes and no. Express Drive users are not eligible for bonuses such as the Ride Challenge program. However, they do have access to Accelerate Rewards, which gives drivers discounts on key services such as fuel purchases, roadside assistance, and even healthcare services.
8. Can my friends or family members use my Express Drive vehicle?
No, they cannot. Just as with a regular rental car, only people whose names are on the rental contract are allowed to drive the vehicle. Violating this provision could void your insurance coverage in case of an accident, as well as void your rental contract in general.
9. How long can I keep an Express Drive rental?
In theory, there is no maximum amount of time that you can keep an Express Drive rental. As long as you bring the vehicle in every 28 days for inspection and give the minimum number of rides, you can keep driving it for as long as you like.
Of course, the Express Drive program is still fairly new, so this could change in the future. If anything does change, we’ll update this article to reflect the new rules.
10. What vehicles does Express Drive offer?
The vehicle offerings will vary based on your city. Generally, Express Drive focuses on fuel-efficient sedans that are suitable for driving for the regular Lyft service. Larger vehicles may be available, but you should expect to pay more for them.
Get on the Road With Express Drive
We hope this guide has helped you understand all the ins and outs of Lyft Express Drive. As you can see, the program is an easy way to get started driving for Lyft even if you don’t have a car of your own. To get started driving, visit this page and sign up with the code RIDEON2019.
Want to learn about how to succeed as a Lyft driver? Check out our comprehensive Lyft driver training course.