The ride-hailing company Lyft opened its first Driver Center in Los Angeles Wednesday. The facility is designed as a one-stop shop for drivers to rent cars, have their vehicles serviced, and get any questions about the platform answered in person.
“We’ve always done some of these services,” said Lyft Regional Manager Elliot Greenberger. “We’ve had a driver service hub where our drivers could come for support, and we’ve offered rentals at various sites across the city, but this is the first time all these services are coming together in one place.”
Maintenance and repair, Greenberger said, is a new addition.
“We know that if you’re a driver for Lyft, your vehicle is incredibly important to you. It’s your source of income or extra earnings, so it’s important to be able to get that vehicle serviced affordably and in a timely manner,” he said. “Every minute your vehicle is in the shop is a minute your car can’t be on the road.”
Designed like a race car pit stop with a team of technicians working on a car, the Driver Center can service about 100 vehicles per day. Greenberger said oil changes will cost $49.99, but the cost of other maintenance and repair services will depend on a vehicle’s make and model and particular issue.
Drivers can book appointments through the same app they use to book rides. Walk-ins are also available, but Greenberger said appointments are preferable because Lyft is trying to control the number of drivers on site at any one time to maintain social distancing.
The Driver Center was supposed to open in April but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For safety, Lyft has set up the Driver Center with socially distanced seating and plexiglass barriers. It is also conducting regular cleanings and providing hand sanitizer and wipes.
Located on West Imperial Highway at the intersection of the 105 and 405 freeways, the Driver Center is near Los Angeles International Airport because the airport is a common pickup and drop-off spot for Lyft’s thousands of L.A. drivers.
The L.A. Driver Center is the seventh location Lyft has opened since November 2019, when it launched the program in Phoenix, Arizona. It operates one other Driver Center in Southern California – in San Diego.
Lyft is already renting hundreds of vehicles through its Express Drive program at the L.A. Driver Center. The service lets drivers rent the cars they drive for Lyft by the week or month instead of logging those miles on their personal vehicles. About half of the vehicles Lyft rents through Express Drive are hybrids such as the Hyundai Ioniq – a key stepping stone in the company’s goal to transition 100 percent of its fleet to zero-emissions electrics by 2030.
In addition to helping existing drivers, the Lyft Driver Center is also designed to serve new operators by assisting them with the onboarding process and answering any questions they may have about best practices for making money.
Lyft’s rival, Uber, runs something similar called Greenlight Hubs to offer in-person support and onboarding services for its rideshare drivers, but those hubs do not provide car rentals or vehicle service. There are two Greenlights Hubs in the L.A. area – in Los Angeles proper and in Burbank.