Lyft brings back shared rides for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began


FILE – In this Jan. 12, 2016, file photo, a ride share car displays Lyft and Uber stickers on its front windshield in downtown Los Angeles. A battle between the powerhouses of the so-called gig economy and big labor could become the most expensive ballot measure on Nov. 3, 2020, in California history. Voters are being asked to decide via Proposition 22 whether to create an exemption to a new state law aimed at providing wage and benefit protections to Uber, Lyft and other app-based drivers. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

LOS ANGELES (NewsNation Now) — Passengers open to a companion joining them in their Lyft ride will have the option available again for the first time in over a year.

Lyft announced a revamped rideshare program which the company says will make them “more efficient, reliable and enjoyable for both riders and drivers.”

One of the changes is allowing riders to book shared rides in advance which can bring the price down further. It also will enable the company’s algorithm to better match riders going the same way to cut down on ride time.

An additional adjustment for passengers who book in advance to select an option for “no surprise pickups” so their route and ETA won’t significantly change.

“As the country reopens, we want our most affordable ride option to be available to our riders,” Lyft President and Co-Founder John Zimmer said in a press release. “After a year and a half without Shared rides, people are going to love the updates we’ve made – no surprise pickups, knowing your full route before you get in, and a new option to book ahead.”

The company added new rules for ride shares as a part of the revamped program including no eating or drinking, limiting passengers to two riders total and requiring masks.

Lyft and Uber have faced significant surge prices in recent months as drivers have been slower to come back then passengers. Riders have complained about a lack of cars and skyrocketing prices for trips that used to cost much less.

“I knew it’d probably be like up there, but not like almost a hundred dollars to go somewhere that’s like 20 minutes away,” traveler Breanne Bennett said to NewsNation in a recent interview.

The new ride share program will be unveiled Monday in Chicago, Philadelphia and Denver. Other areas will get access to it in the coming months.

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