Lyft, which is a popular ride sharing app which may beat Uber in going public next month is now offering a new type of carpool service that it is calling its “most affordable ride,” but those savings may come at the expense of your patience. Riders who select Lyft’s new “Shared Saver” service in the app will have to wait a few extra minutes before being paired with a driver. After that, they’ll be directed to walk a couple of blocks to an optimised pickup location. Then, at the end of the trip, they’ll be dropped off a few blocks short of their final destination.
In a lot of ways, Shared Saver is similar to Uber’s Express Pool, which also involves extra waiting and walking. But unlike Express Pool, Lyft says Shared Saver won’t be subject to the fluctuations of surge pricing. So, if you’re willing to do some walking and share your ride with someone you probably don’t know, you can now save some money. The new mode is just a slight tweak on the Lyft Line, where you carpool with other users whose routes are kind of on the way with yours.
“With Shared Saver, you’ll never have to worry about surge pricing,” the company says in a blog post. “You’ll lock in the lowest prices, always — even when it’s busy. So you’ll always have a reliable way to get wherever you’re going, no matter what.”
According to Lyft, you shouldn’t have to walk more than a few blocks to get to your pick-up and drop-off spots. Lyft has since posted numerous screenshots to the Lyft blog post to demonstrate just how short of a distance customers are likely to walk in any given situation – rounding out the time to as little as a two-minute walk.
If you’re having a little déjà vu reading this news, that’s probably because Uber’s version of this program, Uber Express Pool, launched in 2018. After three years of running Uber Pool, Uber learned a lot about the pros and cons of offering carpooling as a ride-share option — like sometimes people got matched up for rides even if they were going to places that weren’t anywhere near to each other. Situations like that caused a lot of inconvenience for pretty much everyone involved, so Uber worked out some of those kinks and launched Uber Express Pool on Feb. 21, 2018, which has since risen in popularity and collected high praise.
Uber Express POOL is a lot like Lyft’s Shared Saver. According to the news release, you walk to both your pick-up and drop-off locations and share a ride with someone else. According to The Verge, Lyft’s Shared Saver is currently only available in states of America (for now) including Denver, Colorado, and San Jose, and California. Uber Express POOL has been piloting in San Francisco and Boston, and is currently available in Los Angeles, San Diego, Denver, Miami, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. Although, more cities (and countries) will likely be added to both ride-share services in the future.
Ride share companies like Lyft and Uber have always insisted that they’ve aimed to reduce the number of cars on the roads by offering more carpooling services throughout their operating cities, according to AP News. “Lyft is focused on making personal car ownership optional by getting more people to share a ride, helping to reduce car ownership, and partnering with public transportation,” Lyft spokesperson Adrian Durbin told AP News in a statement.
Now that ride share options are certainly becoming more affordable and accessible in comparison to some modes of public transportation, especially in cities where public transport is unreliable, more and more people are gravitating towards participating in such services. However, that means that more work needs to be done to understand the services and efficiency the customers want and in a timely matter to meet demand. One thing is for certain though – this new ride sharing feature will definitely assist those who are on a smaller budget get to their desired location.