Lyft, an on-demand transportation company, is currently valued at $11.5 billion and is growing as more people discover the company, which is a serious competitor with Uber. It was initially launched in 2012 as a project of Zimride, a long-distance rideshare company focusing mainly on college campuses. Since then, it has expanded both to major cities and to more suburban areas, serving 300 US cities total. Within seven months of its launch at Cornell University, 20% of the campus had signed up, using profile information from Facebook to ensure that both passengers and drivers were trustworthy.
Lyft was launched with a pink, fuzzy mustache as the hallmark of all cars that drove with Lyft. In January 2015, this changed to a “glowstache”, which was still mustache-shaped but glowed instead of being fuzzy, in order to keep customers from being embarrassed by the pink, fuzzy mustache. In the summer of 2016, two key developments were released: ride scheduling and stops. The ride scheduling feature allowed passengers to schedule a ride up to 24 hours in advance, instead of having to wait for the ride to arrive and risk being late for an airplane or meeting. The timeframe has since been expanded to up to 7 days in advance. The stops allowed passengers to make short stops during a trip. In the summer of 2017, Lyft announced a partnership with NuTonomy, a Boston-based self-driving car startup. Prior to that, Lyft and General Motors announced in 2016 that as a part of their partnership they would start testing self-driving cars. In September 2017, Lyft started a partnership with Ford Motor to start testing and development of said cars.
Lyft offers rides to many airports, such as Baltimore-Washington International Airport, Boston Logan International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, and many more all over the United States. Lyft’s points of pride are speed, reliability, and safety. All drivers are required to take an in-person interview, to be 21 years or older, and to have held a drivers’ license for over a year. In terms of background checks, all drivers are required to undergo criminal background checks (which goes back seven years), as well as Department of Motor Vehicle and sex offender registry background checks.
In addition to background checks, Lyft also has other features that ensure safety and accountability. One such feature is a rating system, where passengers and drivers rate each other out of 5 stars. Their official website says that 9 out of 10 rides are rated 5 stars. Drivers who average low ratings are dropped from the service. In order to prevent passengers from being duped, Lyft lets them know the type and color of the car belonging to their driver and also tells them how close the driver is to them. They have a Trust and Safety team that is available 24/7 to passengers.
Lyft has recently partnered with Hitch Health to offer rides to offer non-emergency medical appointments in supported locations around the US. The partnership includes technology from Hitch that assesses which patients are the most in need of a ride, based on insurance and income. The six-month trial focused on patients that didn’t have access to another form of transportation, such as low-income and vulnerable patients. The partnership doesn’t require a cell phone or credit card to get a ride to a medical appointment. Lyft hopes to secure their role as a key medical transportation company with this partnership.
Lyft also currently has a partnership with Girl Scouts Arizona Cactus-Pine. The partnership seeks to raise awareness of the leadership program during the February 23rd to 25th window, otherwise known as National Girl Scout Cookie Weekend and the beginning of the Girl Scout cookie selling weekend. This partnership is connected with the codes GSPHX and GIRLSCOUTS, with the first code turning the app into Cookie Mode, meaning that drivers will drive cookie-themed cars and hand out free Girl Scout Cookies to passengers. The second code gives new users $5 off their first four rides, along with Lyft donating $10 to Girl Scouts per code usage. About 100 of Lyft’s full-time drivers will be using car magnets and informational cards to spread the news about the Cookie Finder app, which helps users find the closest cookie sales booth.