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Lyft brings MaaS options to US and Canadian cities

The ride-sharing company wants to help users unlock the transportation options in their city by enabling them to see all ride options from within its app.

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Lyft wants users to subscribe to a transportation service like they do a mobile phone
Lyft wants users to subscribe to a transportation service like they do a mobile phone

The ride-sharing company Lyft has taken another step towards its vision of enabling users to subscribe to a transportation service just like they subscribe to mobile phone or content streaming plans.


Users of the ride-sharing app in cities across the US and Canada will now be able to see the range of ride options available in their city when they open the app’s home screen, including scooters, bikes, public transit, car rentals, shared rides, regular rides, big rides, and more.


The company said it is the first in a series of changes that makes it easier for individuals to choose the right ride for each occasion.


Making MaaS a reality


The announcement is helping to make the concept of mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) a reality in cities. MaaS brings together the various transportation options available – such as public transport, shared bikes, ride-hailing services, on-demand options and more – and allows citizens to plan their route, choose their preferred mode of travel and book and pay for everything via one app.

 

A roundtable event held in Eindhoven by SmartCitiesWorld in partnership with moovel (now called ReachNow as part of the joint venture between BMW Group and Daimler AG) confirmed that interest in MaaS continues to be high but there are challenges and concerns.

“Our greenest ride options, and the ones most likely to help alleviate traffic. This summer, one in eight Lyft rides was a bike or scooter ride in the cities where they’re available”

Many at the event expressed that they want to retain a level of control in the MaaS ecosystem, particularly in areas such as data-sharing and ownership and limiting the number, placement and types of vehicles in the city.

 

While cities continue to discuss the issue, companies such as Uber, which recently integrated public transport into its app in London, and Lyft could become the go-to MaaS providers for cities.

 

Thomas Friderich, head of business development at moovel, is optimistic that MaaS will become a reality, and soon, but urges cities to act now or risk losing important ground.

 

Lyft’s progress


Over the past year, Lyft has added shared bikes and scooters to the in cities across the US. It reports that early user testing shows that the new design has more people taking up scooter, bike and public transit options.

 

“Our greenest ride options, and the ones most likely to help alleviate traffic,” said Lyft in a blog. “This summer, one in eight Lyft rides was a bike or scooter ride in the cities where they’re available.”


It also reports record ridership across bike share networks, such as Citi Bike in New York.


Using the Lyft app users can seamlessly switch between tabs to choose the best ride option for them. Other features added include bike lanes being marked in green in the iOS version of the app, with Android coming soon.

“We believe cities should be built around people, not cars”

It will shortly add the ability to compare time and cost across different ride types, and the app will surface trips that are faster or more affordable on bike, scooter, or public transit. Currently, when users open the Lyft app, they see a map of nearby vehicles but soon this will also include bikes, scooters, and nearby public transit vehicles.


“We believe cities should be built around people, not cars,” said Lyft. “That’s why we redesigned the Lyft app last year to make it easier to compare ride options, and why we continue to invest in shared ride options and self-driving technology, and why we are working hard to add bikes, scooters, and public transit options in more cities.


“You’ll have more ways to get around every city, and it will be easier to choose affordable, convenient rides."

 

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