We know service animals can raise some questions for Lyft drivers, but they’re essential for many people. We’ve been working hard on a few updates to improve the experience for everyone in our community, including a new service animal policy that clarifies how drivers should handle these requests:
Starting April 14, 2017 , you’ll be required by the law and Lyft’s policy to accommodate service animals, even if you have an allergy, religious or cultural objections, or a fear of them.
We know this will be an adjustment for some of you, but it’s important to us to have an official policy that eliminates any gray area. At Lyft we believe access to transportation is a fundamental right — but as you’ll learn from Christella, people with service animals are too often denied rides when they need to get somewhere. Lyft drivers like you are in a unique position to change that, and help us deliver on our mission to provide safe, reliable transportation to everyone.
FAQ for Drivers
As an independent contractor, isn’t it my choice to accommodate service animals?
We created Lyft for people who love flexibility and freedom, and that’s still the case. But even independent contractors have to follow the law. For example, it’s Lyft policy and the law that you and your riders wear a seatbelt while driving for Lyft. Similarly, it’s Lyft policy and the law that you accommodate service animals.
What about Lyft Line? What if a rider in my Lyft Line has an allergy or objection to the service animal?
We do our best to educate passengers that Lyft Line is a shared ride, with high odds of riding in a closed environment with another person. Sometimes that means encountering a service animal, just like you might in an elevator, an airliner, or small office.
If a rider’s allergies or objections to the service animal are severe, the rider may ask to request a different ride. If necessary, you may cancel the non-service animal rider’s ride without penalty. If you ever have a problem as a driver — or concerns about your rating — reach out to Lyft through the Help Center and we’ll guide you through it after the ride.
What if there’s no room on a Lyft Line for a service animal?
Service animals often ride at their owners’ feet, so you shouldn’t need an extra seat. If they do, we’ve found that other passengers are understanding and will make room for them when necessary. (Note: It’s rare that a Lyft Line will be at capacity at the same time you get a request from someone with a service animal. It’s also rare that you’ll get a ride with a service animal to begin with.)
How can I tell if a service animal is a true service animal? What if a passenger is misrepresenting their dog as a service animal? Are emotional support animals included in the policy?
The good news is that cases of service-animal fraud are rare in our community and will put passengers at risk of deactivation. But if you want, you may ask two questions of riders who report their animals are service animals: (1) Is the animal required because of a disability? And (2) what work or task has the animal been trained to perform? These questions will usually prove to you that the animal in question is a service animal.
That said, we don’t want you to risk your own deactivation by guessing incorrectly. Some passengers use service animals for reasons that aren’t obvious, like epilepsy or heart conditions. Not all service animals wear tags, and they come in all shapes and sizes. For these reasons, it’s best that you accommodate animals when they’re reported to you by riders as being service animals. Contact Lyft after the ride if anything seems fishy, and we’ll investigate.
Although we encourage you to take all animals, including emotional support animals, they aren't covered under our Service Animal Policy or the law so you’re not required to accommodate them.
What if a service animal causes damage?
As you saw in the video, service animals are trained to perform work for their owner and not make a mess. If you’re worried about dog hair, keep a blanket in your trunk. If they do have an issue, contact Lyft Support after the ride and we’ll handle it.
We look forward to continuing the discussion throughout April, our first Service Animal Month at Lyft, and in the months and years to come. Thanks for taking this seriously, and being there when people need your rides the most.