Lyft’s newest feature, Shuttle service, is now expanding with eight routes in San Francisco and six in Chicago. Both cities are considered launch markets for the trial and can save customers lots of hard earned cash by providing fixed-fare shared travel along a designated route.
….so it’s like a bus but not? Yes and no. While Lyft will be offering pre-defined pickups and drop-offs, it also lets commuters book rides up to a week in advance so they know they will have a seat when they need one. Chariot – the Ford-acquired startup – offers commuters a similar service.
Chariot was also a start-up to introduce advanced ride booking and it looks like Lyft is clearly taking a page out of Chariot’s book. Back to the route additions, Lyft is also adding a key route between the Caltrain station south of Market and the Financial District in San Fran.
This is a perfect for last mile trips connecting commuters from the rest of the Bay Area to their destinations downtown. Expansions in regards to routes in both cities suggest Lyft is satisfied enough with its initial test to continue with the project.
The goal is to expand first to cover the densest commuter zones, says Lyft and continue growth to tackle routes where affordable options from other transit providers are in short supply.
While some critics argue that Lyft’s Shuttle and other services alike are “reinventing the bus” there is something that is bigger at play. Demand modelling equates to this: Shuttle can evolve to meet the specific, actual needs of commuters on the ground and has the potential to allocate transportation much more efficiently while avoiding needless congestion.