As consumers grow to expect a high level of service from every brand they interact with, sometimes those brands have to become more like their biggest rivals just to survive. That is, at least, what it appears is happening with Lyft.
The anti-Uber announced Tuesday (March 29) that it would start offering a carpool service, known by the eminently catchy title of “Lyft Carpool.” Unlike other carpooling services that still use the driver-rider dynamic, Lyft Carpool will instead empower normal drivers to pick up one or several carless passengers on their ways to and from work. In a blog post, Lyft outlined why this could be a convenient option for commuters of all types.
“Solo commuters can now get affordable, nonstop rides without needing to drive,” Lyft explained. “To ride, just tell the app when you want to arrive at work. It’ll match you with a Lyft Carpool driver who shares your commute route. Prices range from $4–$10 and make Carpool a viable option for daily use. Lyft Carpool seamlessly manages each trip, so both drivers and riders enjoy the ride. Beyond coordinating matching and sending trip reminders, Carpool provides two-way ratings and secure messaging.”
Lev Popov, product manager at Lyft, told Forbes that, in a gesture of goodwill, or possibly as an added measure to ensure that Lyft Carpool succeeds, the company won’t be taking a commission off of drivers’ efforts when the service launches. By forgoing profit, the idea is to entice initial drivers with the promise of gas money before hooking them into a new way to commute to and from work.
“Our initial goal is not to make a profit. We’re really focused on our mission of reducing traffic and filling empty seats in the cars, but obviously, long term, we expect this to be a strong part of the business,” Popov told Forbes.