Lyft offers custom carpooling service. Should mass transit be worried?

Lyft will offer a carpooling service, Lyft Line, that offers custom routes and fewer stops than public transportation. Should mass transit be concerned over potential competition from Lyft?

By , The Car Connection

  • close
    Lyft driver Geoffrey Frisch, 36, enters his vehicle before heading to the Memphis International Airport July 14, 2014. Lyft will offer a carpooling service, Lyft Line, that offers custom routes and fewer stops than public transportation.
    View Caption

Taxi-esque car-sharing services like Uber and Lyft have made lots of headlines recently -- and lots of enemies, too. So far, most of those enemies have been cab companies and their drivers, who are (rightly) worried about the lack of regulation in the car-sharing industry and also (less rightly) worried about their ability to compete against these new, ad hoc taxi networks.

Now, Lyft is set to make a few more black lists -- this time, among public transportation employees. According to Mashable, the company has unveiled a new service that's going head-to-head with mass transit, offering custom routes, fewer stops, and arguably cleaner seats than buses, trains, and ferries.

The service is called Lyft Line, and it works like a custom-made carpool. Riders select the Lyft Line option within the Lyft iOS app, plug in their destination, and Lyft immediately provides a price, then sets off in search of fellow passengers. (Lyft says that the match-up process only takes a couple of minutes.) Because the price of the ride is set at the start, it won't change, even if Lyft can't pair you with other riders.

Recommended: Think you're a car buff? Take the quiz.

Lyft says that the cost of Lyft Line is typically 30 or 40 percent cheaper than a solo Lyft ride, but in some cases, it can be up to 60 percent lower. That makes it moderately competitive with public transportation -- and with door-to-door service, it's far more convenient.

The company claims that Lyft Line is "smartly routed" and that users will never have to go more than a few minutes out of their way en route to their destination. And of course, because we're living in the Smartphone Era, users can learn a bit about their co-riders, via the Lyft app.

Lyft Line launches in a closed beta test next Friday, August 15, in Lyft's hometown of San Francisco, but it's expected to roll out to other cities (and Android fans) in the near future.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best auto bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link in the blog description box above.

Share this story:
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...