Ridesharing is one of the most innovative ways to get around the city, and the San Francisco, California-based on-demand transportation company Lyft is giving its competition a few reasons to be nervous about. The fast growing ride hailing service has been making bold moves in cities all over the United States, with Atlanta, Georgia receiving major updates that are sure to disrupt A-Town’s public transportation.
New Options Taking Over
Currently only available in select locations in the United States and Canada, Lyft has several riding options available, depending on the city you are booking a ride in. In Atlanta, they offer the classic Lyft and Lyft Plus, which are their basic private car services. In addition, they have Lyft Line as their carpool service banking on cheaper-than-normal fares; while the Premier, Lux, and Lux SUV provide premium high-end or luxury rides, the latter two only available since last year. Offering this multitude of options has put Lyft high above its competitors, among which are Uber, Taxilo, Blacklane, Curb, Limos.com, Cab Hound, and the traditional taxi cab. Google’s Waymo self-driving cars also announced their intent of having Atlanta as their next test program location.
Only recently, Lyft announced that Atlanta belonged to the 14 additional cities receiving commuter benefits for its Lyft Line riders. The other cities are: Austin, Texas; Chicago, Illinois; Denver, Colorado; Las Vegas, Nevada; Nashville, Tennessee; Jersey City, New Jersey; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Portland, Oregon; the cities of Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose/Silicon Valley, California; and Washington, D.C. Last year, this program was only available in the following cities: Boston, Massachusetts; Miami, Florida; New York City, New York; and Seattle, Washington.
Today, Atlanta passengers can save as much as 40% as well as use pre-tax dollars in their Lyft Line rides, a perk that is aimed at the 22% of ATL residents that prefer using Lyft when connecting with public transit. The way this works is by letting Lyft Line riders add their commuter benefits card into their Lyft account. “This provides employers with a competitive advantage, by offering an affordable and efficient transit option for their employees,” explained Amit Patel, director of business development at Lyft Business.
Patel also said Lyft Line in itself “helps to reduce the number of vehicles on the road, ultimately reducing pollution and freeing up more space on the streets.” Employers simply contact their benefits providers to take the next steps – partner providers are Ameriflex, Benefit Resource, Commuter Benefits Solutions, Navia, WageWorks, and Zenefits.
In an interview, Lyft’s Southeast General Manager Sam Bond described how late 2017 and early 2018 as “tremendous” for the company in its Atlanta operations. According to him, Lyft had a huge $57 million impact on the city’s economy last year. He also mentioned they opened a “Hub” at Lyft’s ATL headquarters, giving space for drivers to ask questions and get answers, have their opinions heard, and even just have a place to relax.
Lyft also collaborated with Zoo Atlanta starting February 2018, where patrons can get a free ride up to a $10 value going to and from the Zoo to the Five Points and King Memorial MARTA stations. The partnership helps provide guests a cost-effective means of going to the Zoo. All riders have to do is enter the promo code ZOOATL which they can use daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“Guest experience and convenience are very important to us, and as a conservation organization, we welcome every opportunity to encourage alternative transportation,” said Tracy Lott, Zoo Atlanta’s Vice President of Marketing and Membership Sales.
She said they reached out to Lyft regarding the possible partnership, and they were happy to take care of the $10 fare as a way to encourage alternative, cost-effective modes of transportation to the Zoo, and because it is in tune with their conservation efforts.
“They were interested in partnering with us so figured it would be a good fit,” said Lott. “… If we can get even a few guests to take an alternative mode of transportation here, that’s a win for us.”
In addition to Lyft’s partnership with Zoo Atlanta, they have also sealed a few deals over the last year with the Atlanta Football Host Committee, Delta Airlines, and Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Inversely, Lyft’s most obvious competitor Uber has also had long-standing relationships with Atlantans, creating their own consumer benefits such as paying for uberPOOL, their carpool service. In addition, Uber has several partnerships in the city as well, including with their baseball and basketball teams, the Braves and the Hawks, respectively.