Transportation network and ride-hailing app developer Lyft opened its first fully-integrated Driver Center in Phoenix with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday.
The new 20,000-square-foot Driver Center is meant to save drivers time by creating an ultra-efficient vehicle maintenance and service station that offers all necessary vehicle services in one convenient location, at or below market prices.
“Drivers have been telling us for a long time that maintaining their vehicle and getting repairs and services is a considerable expense for them,” said Neha Ajmera, senior director of fleet services for Lyft in San Francisco.
Repairs and routine maintenance can sometimes comprise 50 percent of a driver’s operating costs, she said.
“Generally, 60 percent of drivers say that they distrust their repair shops and are dissatisfied with their service,” Ajmera said. “The other thing is — it’s kind of slow.”
Lyft’s new Driver Center is focused on completing services more quickly in order to get drivers back on the road sooner.
“Our services are quite cutting-edge in that we try to minimize the time that the vehicle actually spends in our shop,” said Drena Kusari, regional director for Lyft’s southwest region. “It’s kind of like a race car pit stop mechanism in that we have multiple mechanics working on the car at the same time. This gets the car in and out of the shop as quickly as possible in an effort to optimize the time that the driver actually has access to the vehicle and therefore are able to earn on the road.”
Kusari said Phoenix is one of the largest markets in the country and continues to grow rapidly, making it a good location for a center.
The Driver Center offers a complete experience, with free refreshments and Wifi and plenty of Lyft team members present to answer drivers’ questions, she said.
“In Phoenix, aside from the Driver Center, we also have three Express Drive locations connecting Lyft drivers to rental vehicles with standard maintenance and insurance coverage,” Kusari said.
Another new service Lyft is offering is called Lyft Direct — a bank account and debit card that are tied directly to the driver’s Lyft account, making their earnings available instantly.
“Let’s say a driver gives a ride, they earn $15 — they can access that money instantly, which is fantastic,” Kusari said. “At the same time, the card enables them to get money or cash back.”
Aurelia Barbour, who drives for Lyft, said the new center would prove beneficial in a lot of ways.
“I’ve gone to so many places to get my vehicle fixed, and I was wondering if they were up-selling me,” she said. “Now, I feel comfortable bringing it here, because they know that I need to get back out on the road, so it’s going to be done quickly, and I can afford it.”
Barbour, who has five children, said a normal mechanic’s shop has a number of ways for kids to get hurt or break something, but the new Driver Center has space for kids to sit or play safely.
Glenn Hamer, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, congratulated Lyft at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“The Arizona Chamber has been proud to advocate on behalf of the ride-sharing industry, alongside our great Gov. Doug Ducey, who since taking office in 2015 has made great strides in creating a welcoming environment for next-generation technology in Arizona,” Hamer said. “We’ve seen first-hand the significant impact Lyft has had in our communities, both in Arizona and across the country.”
According to Hamer, Lyft has made communities safer by reducing the number of impaired drivers on the road, reducing traffic and greenhouse emissions and making transportation more accessible to all communities.
The work that all of you are doing isn’t just important for Lyft — isn’t just important for Lyft employees and the company — but it’s important for the broader community,” he said.