In an effort to make rideshare services more accessible to older populations, Lyft is adding an option that lets passengers order a ride by phone call.
The phone call ordering ability was piloted in late 2020 in Miami. On February 24, the ridesharing company launched its service in dozens of Florida cities. For those who wish to use the phone service, they can call 631-201-LYFT with a cell phone to book a vehicle on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Once a ride is booked, Lyft communicates updates via text message.
While Uber tried providing the same phone call service a year ago, the company terminated the service shortly after its launch. Uber’s service was available in Arizona, Florida, and New York City for rides and meal deliveries. By the end of 2020, however, the company paused the program. In an interview with CNN Business, an Uber spokesperson mentioned the declining use of service contributed to stopping the program. Only a few hundred people a month were using it.
Sam Bond, regional director for Lyft in the Southeast, said the company is looking forward to “helping seniors access transportation to essential services and resources that may be currently out of reach without a car.” Lyft president John Zimmer also noted that the pandemic “has amplified transportation and security, especially for seniors and vulnerable communities. We are committed to ensuring that transportation access is not a barrier to beating this virus.”
Lyft has not directly addressed why the company believes its program will succeed compared to Uber’s but did reiterate that it is dedicated to serving vulnerable and underserved communities. Another example of this is the company’s announcement of a vaccine access program with a goal of providing 60 million rides to and from vaccination sites.
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