Drivers are dropping out of a city on Lyft, how do you figure out what’s going on?
Post and review answers and feedback to answers in the comments section of this post.
+1 vote
Post and review answers and feedback to answers in the comments section of this post.
in Problem Solving by (717 points) | 1.1k views

3 Answers

+7 votes

Drivers are dropping out of a city, how do you figure out what’s going on?

There are multiple reasons why there could be a drop of drivers. We can break it down into company, customer (both driver and passenger), product, competition, and evengovernment.

  • 1) Which city is this specifically? And, how much of a percentage decrease are we talking about?
  • 2) Is there some economic reason for this happening in that city that is outside of our control (government is increasing tariffs to be a driver or taxes for a 1099 employee is too much)?
  • 3) Have we gotten bad PR?
  • 4) Have our business model changed? Have we taken more % of the drivers pay?
  • 5) What do you mean by dropping out? Are they deleting the driver app and/or resigning as being a driver? What specific metric are we talking about?
  • 6) Is the percentage / # of driver drop similar MoM or YoY (seasonality)?
  • 7) Are there recent changes made in the app that make it difficult to drive?
  • 8) Are competitors (Uber, etc.) having a stronger play and have the incentive to drive for them and quit Lyft?
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Great list Justin. Thank you for posting. Looking forward to seeing you submit answers to more exercises.
+2 votes

I assume “dropping out” refers to deactivating such that they do not drive for Lyft anymore. First of all, I would cross-check the source of the red flag data to be sure it is accurate.

Assuming the trend is verified, I’d ask these clarifying questions:
– What % of drivers are deactivating?
– Over what period of time has this deactivation been occurring? When did it begin?
– Did the change occur suddenly or gradually over a period of time?
– What changes occurred at the time the change occurred that might affect app performance? E.g. a code release or vendor change
– Is the change occurring within the entire driver population in the city, or among certain drivers only? e.g. only drivers that signed up in the past 6 months are affected
– What feedback have we heard from the drivers in the affected group? Have they provided reasons for deactivating?
– Have there been similar drops in other Lyft metrics in the area? e.g. has ridership experienced a similar trend?
– Has this trend appeared before in this city or another city? if yes, what was the cause?
– Has there been any server downtime or other errors reported?

Using this information, we want to determine if the problem is *internal* or *external* in nature.
An internal problem could be a bug, server issue, or a new feature that had unintended consequences. An external problem could be related to competition, bad PR, a natural disaster, a firmware change, or new regulatory or legal change.

If the problem is identified as internal, meaning a bug or the like, I would work with the engineering team to isolate the problem and push out a fix. Depending on the severity of the problem, I might ask to interrupt the current sprint and push this out as a hotfix, or if less severe, could include the fix in the next sprint plan.

If the problem is a feature that is causing issues, I’d work with Eng to roll back the feature and if possible, spec out a new feature that does not have a similarly detrimental impact.

If the issue is external, such as a hurricane, change to the law, or new competitor entering the market, I’d work through the normal product development cycle to plan for an address the problem. If the issue is temporary or seasonal, there may not need to be further action taken as the drivers will likely return without further intervention.

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Good answer. Thanks for posting this. Perhaps you would also want to ask some questions to check if the issue is seasonal or not (e.g. “Did we experience a similar drop last year?”. In addition, this could be due to new competitor arrival with better payment model for the drivers. You’ll want to explore that path as well.
+2 votes

First, I’d ask some clarifying questions:
– What do you mean by “dropping out”? Is it:
. Decrease in new driver sign ups?
. Decrease in returning drivers? (# times opened app per day)
. Decrease in hrs spent driving per day?
– What city is this in? Is there a trend in the metric, or sudden drop? Are there other cities with the same issue around the same time?

Depending on the two answers above, I’d list out the steps + categorize them as:
1) Company related
– Did we make changes to the app?
– Has there been bad press recently?

2) Driver experience
From the perspective of the driver + their motivations for using a particular app, I can think of:
– Money: are they making more money vs other apps ($ made per week) – assumes competitor data is available.
– Money: are we taking more cut from drivers that made them want to quit?
– Safety: have there been reports of drivers getting attacked (ex. this happened in Brazil + France when Taxi unions attacked ubers in the wild)
– UX: do we have qualitative or quantitative info on driver’s experience driving with our app?

3) Competition
– Did competitors recently launch their app in the city?
– Did competitors launch a new program (business model, better treatment, event with better pay rate)
– Supply x Demand health – are there enough requests to keep drivers in the app? Would look at ratio of Drivers to Requests made over period of time.
. Supplier: Drivers, Demand: Riders

Depending on what extra data we get, I’d drill down on those points further.

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