The Lyft app has a new look and it’s all about shared rides and taking public transit. Don’t worry it’s still very pink and purple.
The ride-hailing app is known for ordering a car to drive you straight to your destination, but with Lyft’s latest app redeign the focus is more about sharing trips and even taking public transit for a portion of your journey.
With a goal to make half of all Lyft trips shared rides by the end of 2020, the app puts this option front and center. It’s also renaming the Lyft carpool option “Shared Rides,” replacing “Lyft Line.” Already 35 percent of rides are shared in cities with that option, Lyft VP of government relations Joseph Okpaku said.
Now Lyft will “take this to the next level,” he said.
That starts with a fresh app. The first thing you’ll see in the new app is a video of several people in a car, then the home screen appears with a different look. Instead of a massive list of nine different ride options and prices, the app now asks, “Where are you going?”
Katie Dill, VP of design at Lyft, said this framing “makes it much easier on you and the decision-making process.”
That’s not the only change. After you’ve plugged in your destination, your potential route is mapped out and displayed before you’ve chosen what type of Lyft you want to take based on price and arrival estimates.
“We moved a lot of things around,” Dill said. “We changed things dramatically in terms of how it works.” The last app redesign was in December 2015.
For what Dill calls an “extra level of personalization,” the app can now generate a one-tap ride option for destinations you go to often and consistently. If every morning at 8:45 a.m. you head to a nearby coffee shop the app will pull up a trip there that you can request with a push of a button.
For shared rides, Dill said, “we want to get more people in fewer cars.” To do that quicker and more efficiently, Lyft is incorporating more walking options for pick-ups and drop-offs (meaning you can walk a block over instead of sending the car deeper into traffic to get directly to you). Lyft’s also adding an opt-in option to get matched with another passenger on your route and Lyft will knock a few bucks off the ride and promise just as timely an arrival. Think of it as unintentional carpooling.
All these changes are for passengers. The driver app isn’t changing as much yet, Dill said, but something is in the works for this summer. Some app updates were announced last week. Uber rolled out a new driver app earlier this year after working with drivers to include real-time earnings, a new surge zone map, and other notifications.
In a feature that feels like the public transit tab on Google Maps directions, Lyft will show different route options using public transit and the ride-sharing app. “Sometimes a car isn’t the best option,” Dill said.
The first two systems incorporated in the app are the Big Blue Bus in Santa Monica, California, and Marin County’s transportation system in the region north of San Francisco. Partnerships with more than two dozen cities will soon arrive in the app including Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Lynx Transit in Orlando, Florida, RTA in Dayton, Ohio, and Denton County Transportation Authority in Dallas.
Uber announced a few months ago a similar public transit partnership with Masabi, the mobile ticketing platform, which allows riders to plan trips on the subway or bus through the Uber app.
For anyone who already misses the old app, Dill counters the changes were necessary to include more transit-friendly and shared-ride features. “A lot of this is about Lyft’s mission to help evolve cities in a thoughtful way,” she said.
So move over, a few more people need to get in.