Why it matters to you
If you thought Lyft was all about comfy cars and rider-requested pick-up points, think again.
The ride-sharing outfit has stared piloting a new service called Shuttle in San Francisco and Chicago. As its name cleverly suggests, Shuttle is essentially a bus service with fixed routes and pre-determined stopping locations.
Shuttle is an expansion of Lyft Line, the company’s carpooling service that matches up riders heading in the same direction. Having identified particular commuter routes that consistently see lots of ride requests, Lyft wants to see how its loyal users take to the offer of a ride in a bus instead of a car.
Advantages include a regular, reliable service and competitive fixed-fare pricing. This means no sudden price increases during busy times, which is exactly when Shuttle operates — from 6:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., and again from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays. However, unlike its car-based service, riders will have to walk to the pick-up points rather than designate a spot.
Besides aiming at current Lyft users, the company hopes Shuttle will also attract new customers who are yet to sign up to Lyft.
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“Lyft Line is the future of rideshare, and we often test new features that we believe will have a positive impact on our passengers’ transportation options,” a Lyft spokesperson said. “We look forward to feedback on Shuttle from the Lyft community [and] we see a number of commuting use cases that this mode will make easier.”
Using buses may seem a bit old school for a company considered a disruptor in the transportation space, but its own R&D work suggests it could one day switch to self-driving buses, running them alongside a fleet of driverless cars that Lyft’s boss says could dominate its service by 2021.