Lyft’s opt-in automatic rider donation program goes live May 1

Lyft previously announced that it would be introducing “Round Up & Donate,” a program that would allow its riders to automatically top-off their fare to the nearest dollar and donate the excess to a worthy cause. The program is now all set to go live for the first time on Monday, May 1, and the first organization that Lyft is supporting is United Services Organizations (USO), which provides support to military veterans and service members.

The donation program is debuting in the Android app first, and will roll out to iOS shortly. The USO is just the first of many planned partner additions in terms of destinations for donations, as Lyft wants to offer riders choices about where their contributions go.

To access the feature, you can find the ‘Round Up & Donate’ menu option under ‘Settings’ and toggle that on to start rounding up your fares to the nearest dollar and donating the surplus. Donations are tax-deductible, too, Lyft points out.

Lyft’s first partner was selected in part because May is Military Appreciation Month, Lyft says, and because around 10 percent of the service’s drivers are veterans, while a quarter of drivers at least have a family member who either is or was serving in the military.

It’s a pretty interesting program, sort of the ride hailing world’s equivalent of those cashier donations at checkout in grocery stores, but with even less friction. Hopefully Lyft will eventually make public the results of its efforts here, so we can get a better idea of how effective it is overall.