Lyft Is Paying People $550 to Get Rid of Their Cars for a Month

Jul 31, 2018

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Ride-hailing companies continue on their quest to become the only mode of transportation in cities across the world.

Now, Lyft is introducing a program in Chicago called Ditch With Lyft that will pay car owners $550 to hand over their keys for a month. The catch? The money comes in the form of different credits for ride-hailing and other transportation methods and requires users to only use those services for the entire month of August.

Lyft wants to show city dwellers that it’s possible, and probably cheaper, to just use shared services to get around. The company claims that Chicago-ites spend almost $13,000 a year on car ownership costs like car payments, insurance, gas, parking and maintenance — but they only use their car about five percent of the time. 

Each person who signs up will get $300 in Lyft credit to use on shared (carpool) rides, $105 for L train and bus service (public transit), $100 in Zipcar credit and $45 for a Divvy bike-share pass.

To be eligible, you’ll need to be a resident of Chicago and prove that you own a car. The program is only open to 100 people, so you’ll want to sign up quickly if you’re interested.

The Verge reports that Lyft will rely on the honor system to ensure enrollees strictly use the shared-ride and bike services. And this isn’t a one-time stunt — Lyft says it plans on launching a similar program in Portland later this year, although that challenge may last an entire year.

It’s definitely an experiment, and Lyft wants to learn from the participants about their experiences over the course of the month, they’ll be doing pre and post challenge interviews.

“We want to follow them. We want to hear their stories,” David Katcher, Lyft’s general manager for the Midwest told The Verge. “We want to see how their feelings about driving have changed. We want to see if they’re saving money. We want to see if they’re having less stress. We want to see if they got more work done or were able to read a book because they didn’t have to drive.”

The challenge will test Uber and Lyft’s investment in last-mile services like electric bikes and scooters and their hope that city-dwellers really don’t need a car. Lyft recently purchased bike-sharing company Motivate and Uber acquired JUMP Bikes and made a massive investment in Lime scooters.

Featured image courtesy of Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto/Getty Images. 

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