Lyft Tries to Reinvent the Bus With New 'Shuttle' Service
Rideshare company and Uber's chief rival, Lyft, is currently testing a new way of moving people around cities by using one of the oldest transit modes in the game — buses. Lyft Shuttle operates very much like a traditional city bus — it has a prescribed route with specific pickup and drop off points. Currently, Chicago and San Francisco are the only two cities where the service is offered.
Users who order a Lyft Line (which is a carpool ride similar to UberPool) will then have the option to switch to a Shuttle if they're near one of the pickup or drop off locations. Lyft identified popular commuter routes in the two test cities and has deployed the Shuttles on them. The service is aimed at commuters who apparently won't otherwise use city buses and only operates during morning and evening rush hours from 6:30am - 10am and from 4pm - 8pm Monday through Friday.
Fares are set at a fixed price, similar to Lyft Line (and public transit), and isn't affected by Prime Time, Lyft’s version of Surge pricing, where prices increase in times of high demand. Users won’t notice any difference if they aren’t near one of the test routes and you’ll still have the option of just taking a regular Lyft Line if you’d like.
Uber tried a similar experiment in 2015 and is planning on launching Uber Commute in Washington, D.C. in the coming weeks. Chariot, a carpool company that was recently acquired by Ford Motor Company also operates a similar product in San Francisco and Austin.