Lyft is bringing back shared rides with COVID-19 precautions, as well as new price options that determine the price based on how long a customer had to wait.
On Thursday, 15 July 2021, Lyft announced that it will restart the option of a shared ride from Monday, 19 July 2021. This reportedly follows ride-hailing companies suspending the option for shared rides in 2020, to help curb the spread of COVID-19. The option will reportedly be available in three cities, namely Chicago, Denver and Philadelphia.
Riders will reportedly have three shared ride options, which will have an upfront price assigned according to how long a person had to wait for the ride. The longer the wait, the more discounted a ride will be.
According to the president and co-founder of Lyft, John Zimmer, Lyft wants the most affordable ride option to be available to customers. Zimmer added that the company determined which markets to reintroduce shared rides to based on the demand by customers and supply of drivers.
Furthermore, the new rides will reportedly come with social distancing precautions. Lyft riders will reportedly only be able to book a single seat, and front and middle seats will be left unoccupied. Additionally, both riders and drivers will be required to wear masks for the duration of the trip.
Moreover, the notion of shared rides could reportedly help ride-hailing companies with the pressing issue of an ongoing driver shortage in the United States (US). The shortage is reportedly because of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on the transport industry. Many drivers reportedly sought alternative jobs because they had to live with no income for a while, because people were staying at home.
Lastly, many people are interested to see how the shared rides will fair, considering that before the pandemic, Lyft’s shared rides reportedly only made up 17 to 18 percent of overall rides in the third and fourth quarter of 2019. In 2020, the company reportedly shared that it wanted shared rides to make up 50 percent of its business.