Earlier this year, Lyft attempted to launch in New York with a spectacular failure, getting shut down by local regulators just a day before it planned to get its service up and running. But the ridesharing company bounced back, striking a deal with city officials just a few weeks later. Starting tomorrow, Lyft plans to expand its service in the city, letting strangers share rides if they're going to similar pick up and drop off points.
Your time with a stranger earns a discount
That system, called Lyft Line, automatically matches riders by destination, and promises a 60 percent discount over the normal Lyft service. If it sees two people hailing rides on similar paths, and who have opted to share a car, the driver will pick up both, potentially double dipping on tips. Lyft says it will lock in the discounted rate, even if it doesn't end up matching you with another passenger. The company built Line using technology from a startup called Rover, which it acquired back in April, and this is the third city to get it. Lyft launched it in San Francisco in August, and Los Angeles in September; the big difference here is that Lyft was already in both those cities for two years, whereas it's been in New York for less than five months.
Lyft is not the only company with this service in New York. Its rival, Uber launched an identical service called UberPool there just this week. Both companies promise the steep discount with the downside of having to share the car with a stranger, and possibly losing a few minutes if that person's drop-off requires any detours. The two companies also view it as a viable way for commuters to get around, potentially replacing standard municipal transportation services for some travelers.