- Lyft on Tuesday unveiled one of its biggest app redesigns in recent years.
- The app will now suggest alternative travel methods to a car journey, like on a bike, scooter, or public transit.
- Caroline Samponaro, the company’s head of bike and scooter policy, told Business Insider it’s about making multimodal trips the norm, while cutting emissions and progressing Lyft’s goal of ending traditional car ownership.
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Taking a short trip? Lyft will now suggest two-wheeled, more eco-friendly options, if they’re available.
Bikes and scooters will now be surfaced alongside shared and private car rides as part of a major app redesign, the ride-hailing company announced Tuesday, and the update is set to roll out out to all users in the coming weeks.
It’s another part of Lyft’s mission to reduce the number of cars on city streets and the associated pollution they produce, the company’s head of bike and scooter policy told Business Insider.
“Once people give it a try, and they get that experience, that joy that you get when you bike to work as opposed to taking another way, I think it’s hard to go back,” Caroline Samponaro, who joined Lyft in the executive role last year, said in an interview.
“As someone who’s been bike commuting for more than a decade in New York City, when I tell people that at first they’re like ‘you’re crazy’ and it’s hard for me to put into words. It’s easier, I promise! and it’s cheaper.”
Public transit options will also be displayed as an option in the cities — one of every five in the US — where Lyft has data. In testing, engagement with bikes, scooters, and transit rose “nearly” 50% when the tabbed options were shown in the app, Lyft said.
And while revenue from bikes and scooters still doesn’t tally up to a “meaningful” amount, according to the company’s most recent financial statements, that’s starting to change. One in every eight trips taken in cities where Lyft operates bikes or scooters was taken on a two-wheeled vehicle as opposed to a car, the company said.
That momentum in New York City specifically, where Lyft operates the United States’ largest bike-share program, continually breaks daily ridership records following the addition of bikes to the core Lyft app. Most recently, New Yorkers took 100,000 rides in a single day in September.
Still, amidst a dramatic uptick of cyclist deaths in the city, Lyft agrees with many city leaders that more must be done to improve safety.
“Politics can get in the way of doing something simple like building a bike lane on the street,” Samponaro said.
“What we’re doing here is working hand-in-hand with the city. They have the goal to redesign streets and to make them safe for people on two wheels, people walking, and people getting to transit. We’re tapping into that much larger demand that New Yorkers have, which helps the city and proves that those investments have to happen.”