Ride-hailing service Lyft announced on Monday (May 23) that it will begin testing a capability that allows riders to plan trips at least 24 hours in advance.
Through the new function, Lyft users will be able to select a pickup location, tap the clock icon on the right, set the desired time and then schedule the ride, with the option to update or cancel a scheduled ride up to 30 minutes before the requested time.
“While on-demand rides remain core to our platform, we’re thrilled to offer even more options to passengers, as well as another opportunity for drivers to earn,” the company said in a blog post announcing the news. “Testing for scheduled rides begins shortly in San Francisco, and we look forward to making the feature available to more passengers this summer.”
According to VentureBeat, Lyft’s initial test of the advanced booking feature will only be available to company employees, but the company plans to scale it quickly based on the feedback it receives.
For now, the capability will not force riders to incur any additional fees, and there won’t be a minimum fare required to use the service.
The ability to schedule rides ahead of time may appeal greatly to business travelers in particular, whether they are off to catch a flight or need to make it to a meeting on time.
Travel and expense management firm Certify uncovered an industry first last year when it found, for the first time, ride-hailing apps, like Uber, surpassed traditional taxi use for business travelers (at least, for those using Certify’s solutions).
Q1 2016 figures showed that “use of ride-hailing services among business travelers is at an all-time high and shows no signs of slowing,” Certify stated.
Ride-hailing services took up 46 percent of Q1 2016 ground transportation for corporate travelers, compared to 40 percent landing with car rentals and just 14 percent going to taxis.
“Although a distant second place in the category, Lyft has also established momentum with the business travel trend, growing 44 percent from Q4 2015 to Q1 2016,” Certify wrote, “and now represents nearly 2.5 percent of all ground transportation transactions.”
Certify added that Lyft is expected to continue this growth in the corporate travel space.
The latest announcement from the ride-hailing company may be helpful in doing just that.