Parts of this article (those related to lack of section addressing broader safety concerns with contract ride sharing systems) need to be updated.November 2019)(
Lyft, Inc. is an American ridesharing company based in San Francisco, California and operating in 644 cities in the United States and 12 cities in Canada. It develops, markets, and operates the Lyft mobile app, offering car rides, scooters, a bicycle-sharing system, and a food delivery service.
|Traded as||NASDAQ: LYFT (Class A)|
|Industry||Transportation network company|
|Founded||June 9, 2012Zimride)(as|
|United States, Canada|
|Logan Green, CEO|
John Zimmer, President
Jon McNeill, COO
Brian Roberts, CFO
|Revenue||US$ 3.616 billion (2019)|
|US$−2.702 billion (2019)|
|US$−2.602 billion (2019)|
|Total assets||US$ 5.691 billion (2019)|
|Total equity||US$ 1.832 billion (2018)|
General Motors (6.6%)
Fidelity Investments (6.5%)
Andreessen Horowitz (5.3%)
Number of employees
|Footnotes / references|
Most jurisdictions regulate ridesharing companies and they are banned from operating in some jurisdictions. For more information, see Legality of transportation network companies by jurisdiction.
Riders must download the Lyft mobile app to their smartphone, sign up, enter a valid phone number, and enter a valid form of payment (either a credit card, Lyft Gift card, or link to an Apple Pay, Google Wallet, or PayPal account). Once the trip is completed, funds are debited from the funding source.
Once their account is set up, passengers can request a ride from a nearby driver. Once confirmed, the app shows the driver's name, ratings by past passengers, and photos of the driver and car. Drivers and passengers can add personal information to their profiles about their hometown, music preferences, and other details to encourage drivers and passengers to converse during the ride. After the ride is over, the rider is given the opportunity to provide a tip to the driver, which is also billed to the rider's payment method.
Lyft offers five types of rides within the app:
- Shared Ride, which is not available in all cities, is the cheapest option and will match passengers with other riders who are going in the same direction. During the COVID-19 pandemic, in March 2020, Lyft temporarily suspended shared rides to help slow the spread of the virus.
- Lyft is the basic and most popular offering that matches passengers with nearby drivers.
- Lyft XL matches passengers with a vehicle that can seat at least six passengers.
- Lux matches passengers with a luxury vehicle that seats at least four passengers.
- Lux Black matches passengers with a luxury black exterior vehicle ride that seats at least four passengers.
- Lux Black XL matches passengers with a black exterior luxury car that seats up to six (i.e.: SUVs with highly rated drivers).
Lyft scooters cost US$1 to unlock and 15 cents per minute to ride.
- Drivers must undergo background checks including Department of Motor Vehicles, sex offender registries in the United States, and personnel-type criminal background checks. The criminal background check goes back seven years and includes national and county-level databases, as well as national sex offender registries.
- Drivers must be 21 years or older and have had a driver's license for more than one year.
- Lyft has a zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy.
After a ride is completed, drivers and passengers are given the opportunity to rate each other on a scale of one to five stars. Any driver averaging a low rating by a passenger will not be matched with that passenger again. Lyft does not allow passengers to know their rating. The ratings establish the reputations of both drivers and passengers within the network.
Although Lyft drivers are classified as independent contractors, Lyft also insures each driver with a US$1 million commercial liability policy that is primary to a driver's personal policy. Additional coverage includes:
- Contingent comprehensive and collision coverage up to $50,000 with a $2,500 deductible. It applies from the time a driver accepts a ride request until the time the ride is ended in the app.
- Contingent liability coverage up to $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident/$25,000 property damage. It applies from the time when a driver flips into driver mode until the driver accepts a ride request.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage that complies with local regulations and/or state laws. It applies from the time a driver accepts a ride request in the app until the time the ride is ended in the app.
Sexual assault lawsuitsEdit
As of October 2019, more than 34 women were suing Lyft in the United States. These women allege that they were raped or assaulted by Lyft drivers, and that the company did not do enough to keep them safe and that Lyft attracts drivers that plan to prey on vulnerable women. Many women claim that, even after they reported their assault to Lyft, the company ignored their report and continued to allow the assailants to drive with Lyft.
As of June 10, Lyft now requires that all riders and drivers stay home if they’re sick, wear face coverings when using Lyft, frequently sanitize hands and car surfaces, leave the front seat empty, and keep windows open when possible. To help everyone prepare to ride during COVID-19, Lyft has created safety education for riders and drivers. 
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Green had the inspiration for Zimride after sharing rides from the University of California, Santa Barbara campus to visit his girlfriend in Los Angeles. He had used Craigslist’s ride boards but wanted to eliminate the anxiety of not knowing the passenger or driver. When Facebook opened its API to third-party developers, Green said he thought "Here’s the missing ingredient." Zimride linked drivers and passengers through the Facebook Connect application. By using Facebook profile information, student drivers and passengers could learn about each other. Zimride eventually became the largest carpool company in the United States. Green was introduced to John Zimmer through a mutual friend and the pair initially met on Facebook. The company name came from the country Zimbabwe, where, during a trip in 2005, Green observed locals sharing minivan taxis. Zimride launched at Cornell University, where, after six months, the service had signed up 20% of the campus.
In May 2013, the company officially changed its name from Zimride to Lyft. The change from Zimride to Lyft was the result of a hackathon that sought a means of daily engagement with its users, instead of once or twice a year.
Whereas Zimride was focused on college campuses, Lyft launched as a ridesharing company for shorter trips within cities.
Lyft became known for the large pink furry mustaches drivers attached to the front of their cars. Riders were also encouraged to sit in the front seat and fist bump with drivers upon meeting. In November 2014, the company distanced itself from the fist bump.
In January 2015, Lyft introduced a small, glowing plastic dashboard mustache it called a "glowstache" as an alternative to the large fuzzy mustaches on the front of cars. The transition was to help overcome the resistance of some riders to arrive at destinations, such as business meetings, in a car with a giant mustache.
In April 2014, Lyft launched in 24 new U.S. cities in 24 hours, bringing its total to 60 U.S. cities.
In April 2014, Lyft hired two lobbying firms, TwinLogic Strategies, and Jochum Shore & Trossevin, to address the regulatory barriers and opposition it had received since its launch.
Due to regulatory hurdles in New York City, the company altered its business model when establishing Lyft on the East Coast of the United States. Lyft’s launch in New York City occurred on the evening of July 25, 2014, and, in accordance with the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) and the approval of the Manhattan Supreme Court, only drivers registered with the TLC were permitted to drive Lyft-branded vehicles in New York City.
In August 2014, the company introduced a shared ride concept, which provides cheaper fares.
In September 2015, Lyft announced a relocation of its customer service operations to Nashville and mentioned that a full relocation would be possible in the future from San Francisco.
In December 2015, Lyft became the first ridesharing company allowed to pick up passengers at Los Angeles International Airport.
In May 2016, Lyft began offering a service to let clients schedule rides up to 24-hours in advance.
In January 2017, the company announced its 160 millionth ride.
In January 2017, Lyft announced it would add 100 U.S. cities, bringing its total to 300 U.S. cities served.
In July 2017, the company announced that the Walt Disney World Resort "Minnie Van" service will be powered by Lyft. Users staying at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels are given the option to hail a "Minnie Van" via the Lyft app. A Minnie Van, a Chevrolet Traverse with Minnie Mouse inspired exterior theming, driven by a Walt Disney World Cast Member can take guests to and from any destination within the Walt Disney World Resort for a flat fee of $20 per ride. Lyft Founder John Zimmer said of the partnership "Playing a part in a family’s experience at the most magical place on earth is a dream come true."
In March 2018, Lyft partnered with Allscripts to create a platform allowing healthcare providers to arrange rides for patients who lack transportation to appointments. The service would be available to 2,500 hospitals, 180,000 physicians, and approximately 7 million patients.
In November 2018, Lyft acquired Motivate, a bicycle-sharing system and the operator of Capital Bikeshare and Citi Bike. The company also announced plans to add 28,000 Citi Bikes and expand its service.
In December 2018, Lyft launched additional scooter fleets in Arlington County, Virginia, Atlanta, Austin, Texas, Los Angeles, Nashville, Tennessee, San Diego, Santa Monica, California and Washington, D.C..
On July 19, 2019, Lyft added real-time public transport and subway information for New York City, amidst battles with the city.
On December 2019, Lyft launched in Vancouver.
In April 2020, Lyft laid off 982 employees and furloughed an additional 288 in an effort to reduce operating expenses and adjust cash flows due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. The company continued to offer scooters for rent in San Francisco, while Miami government asked Lyft to halt operations.
Unwanted text messagesEdit
In November 2018, Lyft settled a class action suit filed in 2014 alleging that the company had sent large numbers of unwanted commercial text messages. In addition to $4 million in payments to consumers, the plaintiffs sought $1 million in legal fees.
Self-driving car researchEdit
In 2012, Green wanted to pitch investors on self-driving cars as part of Lyft's future offering. Green envisioned a few big networks of self-driving cars, similar to AT&T and Verizon.
In January 2016, Lyft announced an autonomous car partnership with General Motors. On May 5, 2016, Lyft and General Motors announced, as part of their partnership, that it planned to begin testing self-driving cars within the next year.
On March 14, 2018, Lyft partnered with Magna International to co-fund, develop, and manufacture autonomous vehicle systems to produce self driving technology that will be available to all car manufacturers.
In October 2018, Lyft acquired Blue Vision Labs, a London-based augmented reality startup, for $72 million. This expertise is expected to help autonomous cars to extract useful information from street-level images.
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