In a recent announcement, Lyft will again be providing shared riders for passengers in select U.S. cities. This is the first time shared trips are available since the pandemic, as they were initially removed to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Shared rides allow multiple passengers to spit a car traveling in the same direction. Lyft is restarting the service in Chicago, Philadelphia, and Denver. Before the pandemic, the company offered shared rides in 18 cities across the United States. It plans to return to all of those cities in the upcoming months.
Shared rides will be limited to two passengers. The middle and front seats will remain empty. The mask mandate will also remain in effect for drivers and riders. Additionally, drivers have the option of opting out of offering shared rides.
Lyft President John Zimmer said, “As the country reopens, we want our most affordable ride option to be available to our riders.” The company is pursuing a phased approach to branch out to all 18 cities while considering the mix of driver supply and rider demand with local policies on COVID-19 restrictions. It’s important to note that shared or pooled rides only made up a small portion of rideshare rides pre-pandemic.
Uber, which also suspended its shared rides at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, has not announced starting its shared service back up again.
Lyft’s decision comes as the contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus is concerning United States officials. New infections are occurring daily, with less than 60% of the population fully vaccinated.
The goal of Lyft’s shared rides is to offer more efficient booking and routing options to avoid delays and keep costs low for riders.
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