Lyft drivers in the Austin area now have a one-stop shop for vehicle services and driver support.
Drivers for the rideshare company can access services like oil changes, tire rotations and battery replacements, as well as rent cars to use for Lyft or take a break between rides at the Austin Driver Center, 6375 E. U.S. Highway 290.
“We heard consistently from drivers in the Austin market that something that would get their cars back on the road in as quick a period as possible as well as at an affordable price would be a huge benefit to them because, when they’re not on the road, that’s opportunity lost,” Lyft Regional Director Sam Bond told KUT during the grand opening Tuesday.
The Austin location, a 28,000-square-foot space, is the third Lyft Driver Center to open in the U.S., according to the company. Lyft said it plans to roll out more driver centers this year.
Sal Lightbourn says he stops by the new facility, which has been open to drivers since mid-December, almost every day.
“You’re able to stretch your legs out,” said Lightbourn, who has been driving for Lyft since 2017. “That’s one of the biggest things. Come and get some coffee or some tea and just freshen up.”
This is not the first time a rideshare company has set up a physical location in Austin. Uber offers Greenlight Hubs, where drivers can get in-person support. And previously, Lyft had a location on St. Elmo Road, where drivers could stop by for information and to rent cars. The facility was smaller than the new one, however, and drivers were sent to third-party companies for car repairs, according to Lyft. The new facility aids vehicles and drivers under one roof.
“We took a look at the vehicle services industry, and it was pretty clear that it wasn’t designed ... with rideshare in mind,” Bond said. “The inspiration was really ‘racecar pit stop.’ We have multiple technicians doing all the required maintenance and service on the car at the same time."
Lyft says it will offer transparent and affordable prices and efficient services to save drivers time. The center offers free diagnostic assessments, and a synthetic oil change plus a tire rotation costs $49.99, according to the company. The Driver Center offers services only to Lyft drivers, but it could expand to others, the company said.
In addition to stopping by the center to take a break, drivers can also talk in person with representatives to get questions answered about the app and their accounts.
Lightbourn said many drivers, like him, use Lyft to supplement their income. The center is helpful in that respect.
“You can come and take care of business here at the same time,” said Lightbourn, who is working to start his own business. “Let’s face it, I’m not the only one that’s rebuilding their lives, somebody that’s doing a little stuff on the side."