With cities around the country easing their COVID restrictions, Lyft has reintroduced shared rides, its lowest-cost ride option, in three U.S. cities. The feature will roll out in Philadelphia, Chicago and Denver, with more cities to follow, the ride-hailing service said on Thursday (July 15).
“Lyft has reimagined shared rides to make them cheaper, faster and more enjoyable for both riders and drivers,” Lyft said in a news release. “For riders, this means a seamless experience and a more affordable, reliable ride. For drivers, this means increased utilization, decreased downtime and even more earnings opportunities.”
With the reintroduction of this service comes a new feature that lets riders request a shared ride ahead of time: within five to 15 minutes, 15 to 30 minutes, or as soon as a driver is available. Lyft says these advanced requests can help the service better match riders going in the same direction, which creates a more efficient route and helps riders save money. And if riders request a shared ride in advance, the route will be fixed, giving them a more accurate ETA.
The company is also instituting some safe guidelines based on customer and driver feedback. Drivers and riders are still required to wear masks, shared rides are limited to two riders total (which means that for now, riders cannot book a ride for two people) and the front and middle seats must remain empty. Lyft is also prohibiting food and drink during rides for the time being.
Back in May, PYMNTS reported that Lyft enjoyed a post-pandemic rebound in the first quarter of the year, with active riders up 8 percent from the fourth quarter of last year to 13.5 million riders, along with a 106 percent surge in the number of rides. “The recovery is clear, it’s happening,” Lyft Co-Founder and President John Zimmer said at the time, adding that the company anticipated a rapid improvement in demand for the second quarter.
Read PYMNTS’ complete report for more on Lyft, Uber and the state of ridesharing world.