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Lyft amp: a smiling driver

What Is Lyft Amp, and How Can Lyft Drivers Get One?

Last updated: July 19, 2019
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Lyft is always looking for ways to stand out in the ride-sharing space. One of their newest innovations is Amp, a device that affixes to the dashboard of Lyft cars. The Amp uses dozens of LED lights to display the Lyft logo and show messages to riders inside the car. The Amp is more than just a colorful sign on the front of a Lyft — it’s a beacon that helps app users locate their requested rides.

It’s also a bit exclusive, as Amp is only currently available for qualified drivers who have hit Gold or Platinum Accelerate Reward Status.

In this article, we’ll give a brief history of the Lyft Amp and showcase its features. We’ll then give a step-by-step guide to show ride-share drivers how to get Amp and set it up.

What Is Lyft Amp?

The Lyft Amp is a small device that can be affixed to the dashboard of a Lyft car. It has dozens of LED lights on it to display the Lyft logo (on the side of the device facing the street), letting people outside know that the car is a Lyft. On the back of Amp, facing inward, the LED lights display messages to the riders.

The Amp replaced the famous “glowstache,” the pink mustache logo that the San Francisco-based rideshare company used to have drivers place in their windshields to clearly label themselves as a Lyft car.

These identifiers are practical, smart, and required. Many cities require rideshare cars to clearly label themselves in the front and back windshields of the cars. For Lyft, however, having those logos also:

  • Makes the pick-up process easier.
  • Prevents other cars from posing as Lyfts.
  • Acts as free marketing for the company.

In a Time magazine article about Amp’s 2016 debut, Vice President of Product Tali Rapaport said that the devices were meant to keep “Lyft top of mind in the markets where it is.”

Features of Lyft Amp

The Amp is a compact device whose main purpose is to act as a tiny billboard. Amp is replacing a sticker, so while its LED lights do look high-tech, it’s just a fun, dynamic sign meant to advertise that a car is a Lyft. The LED lights also provide a way for Lyft to stand out in a competitive ride-sharing field, one that not only includes Lyft and Uber, but other start-ups such as Via, Juno, Grab, and more.

The LED lights on the front and back can provide special messages to people in the back seat and changes colors based on the message or time of year. These messages can be as simple as “WELCOME TO LYFT!” or greet people in individual cities.

Amp Beacon

If a driver has Amp and has paired it with their driver app, Amp will alert riders to look for a special “beacon” color that Amp shows when their driver is approaching. Even if there are many Lyft cars around, riders will be able to identify the car by the shining light and the color that corresponds to the one on their app.

Charging Amp

Amp’s battery lasts up to eight hours. To charge it, you can simply remove it from the magnetic base, and then charge it in your home with a standard USB charging cable, which is provided to drivers when Amp is shipped. Some drivers will also just charge it straight from the car while it’s on the dashboard.

Removing Amp When You’re Not Driving

The Amp is affixed to a magnetic base for easy placement and removal. The base will stay connected to the dashboard even after Amp is removed.

Getting and Pairing Amp

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All Lyft drivers will receive an emblem, a sticker with the company logo on it, when starting out with the company. Amps, however, are reserved for eligible drivers who have hit either the Gold or Platinum Accelerate Reward status.

Eligible drivers must also:

  • Be in a city where Amp is available (Lyft does not publicly list which cities Amp is currently available in)
  • Have an updated shipping address

Drivers become eligible for Gold status if they give at least 175-250 rides within three months, and they become eligible for Platinum status if they give at least 400-600 rides within three months. For more information, Lyft discusses the Accelerate Reward program on its website.

If you aren’t at Gold status yet, you’ll get a sticker emblem to use while you rack up rides.

Getting Amp

Once you’ve hit Gold or Platinum status, Lyft will send you an invite with next steps for how to get your Amp. Once you get an invitation, you can confirm your shipping address in the Lyft driver app, and it will usually arrive in 2-3 weeks.

If you believe you’re eligible for Amp and haven’t heard from Lyft about receiving yours, you can reach out to Lyft Driver Help through the driver app.

Pairing Your Amp

Once you receive your Amp, you can pair it with your Lyft driver app so that it changes colors when you’re close to a rider and tells the rider the “beacon” color.

To pair with the Lyft Driver app, you first open the Lyft driver app, then tap on your photo in the top left to access your settings menu.

Once you’ve done that, turn Amp on in your car. From the drop-down menu, tap “Amp” and once that menu is open, scroll down to see “Pair my Amp.” Tap that, and it should work. If it doesn’t work, make sure Bluetooth is enabled on your phone and try again. If it still isn’t working, reach out to Lyft Help through the driver app.

Installing Your Amp

While Amp itself is affixed to a magnetic base, that magnetic base will need to be placed on the dashboard. The area of the dashboard should be flat. Check the dashboard is clean and dry before the adhesive base is attached. The adhesive is specifically designed not to damage the dashboard.

Safety first: Make sure the placement doesn’t block your view of the road.

Frequently Asked Questions

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We’ve covered what the Lyft Amp is, its features, and how drivers can become eligible to get one. Let’s answer some questions you might have about the device.

1. Why is it called Amp?

On its website, Lyft says that Amp is named because it “amplifies your ride experience and energizes the Lyft community.” Basically, it’s a way to stand out more than you normally would. Bright LED lights grab attention, and Lyft, in their ongoing battle with Uber for ride-share market dominance, wants to stand out.

2. Does Amp replace the required front emblem?

Yes, if you have Amp on your dashboard, you will no longer need to affix a Lyft sticker to your front windshield.

That being said, many states and cities require drivers to display both front and back emblems when a car is working for Lyft, so you may need to keep a sticker on your back windshield while driving for Lyft. You can learn more about local regulations via the Lyft website.

3. Can drivers change Amp messages?

No, drivers cannot change the messages on a Lyft Amp. Lyft says this is to ensure drivers are committed to safe rides.

4. If a Lyft driver is eligible, do they have to get Amp?

You are not required to use Amp. Lyft drivers are independent contractors, and the company can’t make requirements about non-safety related equipment being installed in your car.

That being said, Lyft, as well as many cities, require you to label if you’re driving a Lyft. This is a fun way to do so while standing out to riders who are trying to find you on a busy intersection.

5. Didn’t all Lyft drivers once get Amp?

When Amp was rolled out in 2016, Lyft said it wanted to get them in every Lyft car. They did send them to most drivers in some markets, but then revised their policy to make it so only drivers who consistently drove got the device.

Amp Makes Lyft Rides More Colorful

Amp allows Lyft to have a high-tech way to stand out to customers. For riders wanting a peppy message after a long day of travel or drivers looking to stand out on a busy intersection, Amp is ready.

After reading this article, you should have a strong understanding of the Lyft amp and why the company unveiled it. If you’re a driver, you’ll also have a step-by-step guide to getting your Amp, pairing it, and installing it. Now go out there and light up the ride-sharing world.

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