All urban residents know that taking a car from point A to point B isn’t always the best choice. Traffic could be heavy, and taking public transportation makes more sense. Money could be tight, and riding a bike is cheaper. Now with shared bikes and e-scooters populating major U.S. cities, the transportation consumer has a range of options, and Lyft is changing its app to meet this need.
On September 25, Lyft announced a total redesign of its app and the new features de-emphasize car-sharing.
“At Lyft, we’re working toward a future where cities are centered around people, not cars, “ said John Zimmer, co-founder and president of Lyft. “The changes we’re making today will unlock better transportation solutions – whether that’s a trip on public transit, a bike ride or a shared Lyft – for people in cities around the country.”
Lyft’s app will soon show a variety of transit options – e-scooters, shared bikes, ride-sharing, car rentals and public transit. Bike lanes even show up in green. When a user enters his desired destination, the user can easily switch between tabs to compare pricing, time and routes for each option. It places people at the center of their transit choice, rather than giving cars automatic priority.
After user testing of the new tab view (seen above), Lyft told FreightWaves that it had seen a 50 percent increase in usage of modes outside of rideshare.
“This summer, one in eight Lyft rides was a bike or scooter ride in the cities where they’re available,” Lyft said in a statement. “The app will surface trips that are faster or more affordable on bike, scooter or public transit – whichever works best for you. We’ve seen record ridership across our bike share networks, like Citi Bike in New York, and it’s all part of our vision to make our cities more livable and easier to get around.”
This update is a departure from Lyft’s original ridesharing mission and its competition with Uber, but Uber has also made recent strides to include public transit options within its app in Boston, Denver and London.
Lyft’s statement around people-centered cities shows its momentum towards a carless future. Lyft says that car ownership shouldn’t be a requirement to get around the city and people shouldn’t have to access “nine different apps to find the best ride for [their] next adventure.”
But Lyft, along with Uber, might be thinking about their bottom lines. With the unknown implications of California’s AB5 law, which requires companies including Uber and Lyft to add enormous payroll and benefit costs, Lyft’s app update may suggest a move away from the segment of its revenue most contingent on human labor.
What’s obvious is that Uber and Lyft, but especially Lyft, are asking users to expand their imaginations of the app’s offerings and the future of consumer transportation. Lyft’s update shows that it wants to be a one-stop-shop for all urban transit, which might turn Google Maps into more of a competitor than Uber.