Some Uber and Lyft Drivers Are Getting a Big Perk: Access to the IPOs

February 28, 2019, 1:20 PM UTC

After years of operation—and running deeply in the red—both Uber and Lyft have filed for IPOs. The results are expected to be hot enough that Uber alone could be consider more valuable than Ford, Chrysler, and GM combined.

Long-time and important employees frequently get shares as part of their compensation and many over the years have become wealthy as a result. Uber’s and Lyft’s biggest pool of workers, the drivers, aren’t technically employees. But both companies reportedly will let some portion of them take part in the IPO, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Some of the drivers who are most active or have worked for the companies the longest will get a chance to buy shares at the opening IPO price. It’s not clear, though, how many will get to participate.

Uber is expected to offer a program worth hundreds of millions in total. Eligible drivers will get a cash bonus that they can use to purchase shares. Some who drive in other countries may have to be satisfied with the money because they may not be allowed to legally buy shares. The amount of the bonus will depend on length of service and number of trips.

Lyft will reportedly give drivers who completed at least 10,000 trips $1,000 to keep or use to buy shares. Someone who has completed 20,000 trips would get $10,000 in either cash or shares.

One reason that the numbers of eligible drivers would be low is high turnover. At least one report said only 4% of drivers last more than a year.

Lyft’s IPO is expected to happen first and take place either in late March or early April. Uber is expected to follow at some unknown date after.