Deco Carter, also known as Hip Hop Lyft on social media, is upset about missing a bonus given to some drivers.

Carrie Hodousek/KCBS Radio

'Hip-Hop Lyft' Is Driver Extraordinaire, But Feels Snubbed About Bonus

Carrie Hodousek
March 13, 2019 - 10:34 am

SAN FRANCISCO —If the "Hip-Hop Lyft" driver gets you in his queue, you're in for quite a ride.

Deco Carter, a San Francisco musician who drives part time for Lyft, takes pride in the service he offers his passengers. One look at his car tells you this is no regular lift.

"I have my car totally pimped out - inside and outside," he said, with pink seat covers, a Tupac poster on the ceiling and LED lights in his Toyota Scion.

It doesn't end there. Carter goes out of his way to make his rides fun, playing trivia games with customers where everyone gets a prize. Carter has thousands of followers on social media and has made a name for himself among Lyft customers and its employees

"There are no losers in Hip-Hop Lyft," he said. "Play my trivia game, have fun - it's fun for everyone."

But Carter doesn't feel like a winner when it comes to how he's now being treated by Lyft. As part of the company's coming initial public offering of stock, it's handing out $1,000 cash bonuses to drivers who have completed 10,000 rides.

Despite high ratings, Carter doesn't qualify, because he's under the threshold with only 8,000 trips logged. 

Carter considers himself a role model in the world of ride-hailing apps and is frustrated that he's being shut out of the bonus program. 

"It hurts, it stings, that I can qualify for everything that Lyft has ever been a part of, but now - I don't qualify for it?" he said. "I feel like anyone that's dedicated six years of their life and gone above and beyond what's expected, anyone would be hurt."

San Francisco could see a huge number of newly minted millionaires when companies like Lyft, its rival Uber and Airbnb begin selling stock publicly.

Carter firmly believes that Lyft's drivers, who are independent contractors rather than official employees, are crucial to the company's success.

"I'm part of the reason why you're even up for this IPO right now," he said. "I can't wrap my brain around that. I don't care how many rides I've done, tell you the truth. I don't care if I've done one ride for you guys. I've made an impact not only on your passengers, but your drivers."

Written by Diana Shook