Philadelphia becomes one of the first cities to reintroduce Lyft ridesharing options
Lyft recently announced a revamped return of carpooling options, which had been put on pause since the start of the pandemic. It will debut in Philly today, July 19.
Starting today, July 19, Philadelphia Lyft riders can return to looking for ridesharing options, but with revamped regulations.
Philadelphia is one of the first cities in the U.S. to bring back those options, which had been paused since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last March.
The revamped ridesharing options will follow COVID-related public health and safety protocols.
The main precautions in place are: Lyft riders can only book a single seat, without guests; a two-passenger maximum; the front passenger seat and middle back seats must be unoccupied; masks will be required for all riders and drivers; no eating or drinking will be allowed; and the ability to cancel the trip without penalty due to noncompliance will be afforded to both the passengers or driver.
Riders will have three shared riding options determined by wait time: 15-30 minutes, 5-15 minutes and under 10 minutes. The longer the wait time, the more discounted the ride will be.
"As the country reopens, we want our most affordable ride option to be available to our riders," John Zimmer, Lyft president and co-founder, said in a statement.
Lyft saw significant decreases in revenue and a reduction in riders overall, coinciding with a decline in travel during the pandemic.
In 2020, Lyft generated $2.3 billion in revenue, which was a 36% decrease from 2019. In the final quarter of 2020, when more businesses and establishments across the country began to re-open and more restrictions were relaxed, about 12.5 million people rode Lyft, which is a 45% decrease from the final quarter of 2019.
As vaccines began to roll out in 2021 and the demand for Lyft services increased, so did costs, as the demand for services started to outweigh the number of available drivers.
A number of Lyft drivers stopped driving as a result of the pandemic, according to Business Insider, while other drivers held out for better pay and working conditions.
In addition to Philadelphia, Chicago and Denver will also begin to resume its ridesharing options.
According to Lyft, those three markets were determined by rider demand and driver supply. More cities are expected to bring back its Lyft ridesharing options in the months ahead.
This article is part of Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project among more than 20 news organizations focused on economic mobility in Philadelphia. Read all of our reporting at brokeinphilly.org.