Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

A Lyft driver center. Photo: Lyft

Just one day after protesting drivers forced Lyft to move its IPO roadshow meeting in San Francisco (while others went on strike in Los Angeles after Lyft competitor Uber cut its per-mile pay rates), the company is announcing new, long-planned initiatives it says are aimed at reducing drivers’ expenses.

The big picture: As Lyft prepares to go public, it's still grappling with ride-hailing drivers' top complaint: insufficient earnings. The company is aiming to help them not by giving them a bigger slice of their fares (which it could do by cutting its commissions), but rather by cutting the drivers' costs.

What Lyft is doing:

  • Lyft Direct: Lyft is introducing a bank account and debit card for drivers that lets them access their earnings instantly and get cash back on certain purchases like food and gas, and no banking fees. Lyft has partnered with Stride Bank for this.
  • Vehicle service centers: Lyft is revamping its driver hubs, adding car repair services it says will be much cheaper for drivers (Lyft will price them at cost, according to COO Jon McNeill). It's also adding services drivers can book via their smartphones.
  • Express Drive: The company is also expanding its car rental program for drivers to add more locations and make more electric vehicles available. According to McNeill, electric cars help drivers save $100 per week compared to gasoline cars.

Why it matters: Lyft's new initiatives aren't just an effort to offset complaints about wages — they're also critical as it continues to battle for drivers' loyalty. Acquiring new drivers is costly for both Uber and Lyft, so any perks that keep a driver happy and driving for longer helps the companies’ bottom line. Just last year, Lyft's net losses totaled nearly $1 billion, as its IPO filing recently revealed.

Lyft's response to the protests:

Lyft also has a strong track record of helping drivers increase their earnings, and has led the industry in initiatives like in-app tipping, same-day payments, access to affordable rental vehicles, and more.  We are always open to conversations around how we can make Lyft better for drivers, but what we hear from the majority is that this is a flexible option that works for them.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
7 mins ago - Technology

Google's parent shuts down effort to deliver internet via balloons

Image: Loon

Alphabet is shutting down Loon, one of its "moonshots," which aimed to deliver internet service via high-altitude balloons.

Why it matters: The effort was one of several approaches designed to get high-speed connectivity to some of the world's most remote spots and proved useful in the aftermath of disasters that shut down traditional infrastructure.

Dave Lawler, author of World
23 mins ago - World

What has and hasn't changed as Biden takes over U.S. foreign policy

Photo Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden swiftly recommitted the U.S. to the Paris climate pact and the World Health Organization, but America's broader foreign policy is in a state of flux between the Trump and Biden eras.

Driving the news: One of the most striking moves from the Biden administration thus far was a show of continuity — concurring with the Trump administration's last-minute determination that China had committed "genocide" against Uyghur Muslims.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: New coronavirus cases down, but more bad news ahead — Fighting COVID-19's effects on gender equality.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: NYC postpones vaccine appointments following shipment delays — Private companies step in to fill vaccine logistics vacuum.
  4. World: Biden will order U.S. to rejoin World Health OrganizationBiden to bring U.S. into global COVAX initiative for equitable vaccine access.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!