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Taking a Ride with Lyft May Be Riskier Than You Realize.

by | Nov 21, 2019 | The Term Reporter, Travel

To catch a ride through Lyft’s popular ridesharing app users must download the app to their mobile phone, create an account, and provide their contact and credit card information.  The only way to complete this process is to agree to Lyft’s Terms of Service.  The process is easy, but the Terms of Service are a binding contract between you and Lyft, Inc., so it’s important to understand them.  Lyft’s Terms of Service include 14,671 words (about 29 typewritten pages) and are written at grade 15 reading level. One reason for the length is that Lyft’s Terms of Service include provisions applicable to its drivers as well as riders.  To help you understand Lyft’s Terms of Service, TermScout believes these are the five most important provisions you should understand.


Five Things Riders Should Know About Lyft’s Terms of Service

1. Lyft Claims No Responsibility for Driver Conduct.  Although Lyft screens drivers, Lyft disclaims any responsibility for their conduct. If the driver causes an accident that injures you, you probably won’t be successful if you Lyft.  That’s also true if the driver assaults you. Safety tip: If you don’t feel comfortable with the driver, don’t get in the vehicle. If you the driver’s driving concerns you, instruct the driver to pull over and let you out.

2. Fares May Increase Significantly During Prime Hours.  Lyft offers two types of fares – variable fares and quoted fares. Variable fares consist of a base charge and incremental charges based on the duration and distance of your ride.  In some cases, Lyft may quote you a fare when you request a ride. However, the Terms of Service provide that at times of high demand the charges may increase substantially. For rides with a variable fare, Lyft promises to use reasonable efforts to inform you of any Prime-Time multipliers in effect.  For quoted fares Lyft may factor in the Prime-Time multiplier.

3. Lyft May Charge You if You Cancel a Ride. You may cancel a ride at any time using the app, but Lyft may charge you a fee if you do.  Lyft will charge you a fee if (1) two minutes or more pass after a driver accepts your request and (2) your driver is on time to arrive within five minutes of the original estimated arrival time. In most cities, Lyft will charge you $10.00 for cancelling a ride.

4. Lyft Requires You to Waive Your Right to a Trial and to Instead Participate in Arbitration.  Though Lyft’s Terms of Service make it difficult for you to successfully bring a claim against Lyft, if you do, Lyft requires that you waive your right to a trial and instead agree to binding arbitration.

5. Lyft Will Send You Promotional Texts and Emails Unless You Opt Out.  To be able to provide services, Lyft requires that you provide your phone number and email address. However, Lyft will sometime use that information to send you promotional texts and emails.  Lyft makes it easy to unsubscribe from promotional communications.

TermScout hopes you find this summary helpful.  Remember – this is just a summary. It is not a substitute for reading Lyft’s Terms of Service.


Mark Cohen

Advising Attorney, TermScout  

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