Lyft rewards its drivers for picking you up more often

A ridesharing service only helps you out if drivers want to pick you up in the first place, and Lyft clearly knows it -- the company just countered Uber's new perk system with one of its own. Accelerate, as it's called, puts drivers in one of three status levels depending on how many rides they offer in a given month. Everyone starts out at silver, which offers basic access to Lyft's preferred providers for services like health insurance. If they handle at least 20 rides a month, though, they'll move up to a gold rank that gives them discounts on everything from car maintenance to movie tickets. And if they're committed enough to offer 200 rides a month, they'll get platinum-level status that bumps them to the front of the queue whenever they ask Lyft's headquarters for help.

It's hard to know whether or not the incentives will lure many contractors away from Uber, but they could be more effective in certain areas. Since Accelerate is based on the number of rides rather than hours on the road (like Uber's Momentum), those rewards will kick in faster for drivers who have a lot of short-but-sweet fares. Either way, this is good news if you're in a Lyft-friendly city -- you may get quicker rides home thanks to drivers willing to remain available just a little bit longer.