On-demand ride-sharing service Lyft is announcing a new program that will allow businesses to give Lyft credits to employees as a perk. The new Lyft for Work program, which launches today, is aimed at boosting adoption of the service while also providing a better commuting experience for company employees.
Lyft for Work is being positioned as an employee travel benefit for companies that grant that sort of thing, effectively replacing (or augmenting) handing out transit passes or paid parking credits.
Companies can sign up for the service and then issue a monthly credit balance to participating employees. They can also issue individual credit codes if needed — for instance, if they want to provide credit for candidates they are recruiting to get to and from their office. Through the program Lyft bills the company directly rather than the employee, and only invoices businesses for the credits used, not the total credits allocated.
Over the past several months, the company has signed up a number of organizations as part of its Lyft for Work beta test, getting feedback from them and refining the product to meet their needs. Since every company has different use cases, the company has been trying to make the program as flexible as possible.
Use cases vary depending on the company participating. Some companies set geofences so only rides going to and from their office are charged for, and they can also apply credits used for specific events — like a holiday party, for instance. They can also set parameters around the time of day that Lyft is used, or limit the type of service an employee uses.
That last use case could be popular with companies that urge employees to carpool through the use of the company’s shared ride service Lyft Line. Launched in San Francisco in August, the service connects Lyft passengers who live near each other and are traveling in the same general direction. Lyft believes that as a commuter benefit the offering could result in fellow employees who travel to the same office taking rides together.
All told, 29 companies have signed up for the service, including
Adobe,* Yelp, Stripe, Postmates and Thumbtack. According to Lyft co-founder and CEO Logan Green, most companies are handing out between $100 to $200 in travel credits to employees, although the amount varies.
Of course Lyft isn’t alone in trying to entice companies to offer its service to employees as a perk. Uber launched its own Uber for Business offering over the summer and has been working to get its product more deeply integrated into expense management tools like Concur.
While Lyft stands to benefit from a higher volume of rides from employees of companies that participate, the product also aligns with the company’s broader mission of making car travel more efficient and increasing the number of passengers per ride. One of the simplest ways to do that is by carpooling during commuting hours, as there are usually a number of people traveling in the same general direction, particularly in urban environments.
* UPDATE: Adobe issued the following statement in response to reports of its participation in the Lyft for Work program: “Lyft inaccurately reported that Adobe has partnered with Lyft on Lyft for Work. Adobe has not entered into a partnership with Lyft or signed up for the Lyft for Work. Adobe currently offers a diverse portfolio of commute alternative programs, and regularly explores new opportunities to make commuting easier, safer and more cost-efficient for Adobe employees.”