Lyft revamps app to focus on multimodal transportation

Lyft is rolling out an update that makes it possible to access bikes, scooters, transit and car rentals within the app. Uber, however, did something similar more than one year ago. With Lyft’s update, customers can more easily see all of the transportation modes available to them.

“At Lyft, we’re working toward a future where cities are centered around people, not cars,” Lyft co-founder and president John Zimmer said in a statement. “The changes we’re making today will unlock better transportation solutions — whether that’s a trip on public transit, a bike ride or a shared Lyft — for people in cities around the country. ”

Lyft began testing car rentals in San Francisco earlier this year. As part of the offering, Lyft will give renters a free ride to and from the car rental location. Currently, there are just three car rental locations in California, including one in San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles. Uber launched a rental program in 2018, but it shut down after just seven months.

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While app updates are nice and all, I’d be remiss not to mention California gig worker bill AB-5, which Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed into law. The bill effectively makes it harder for the likes of Lyft and Uber to classify their drivers as independent contractors.

Before the bill even passed, Lyft and Uber announced they were both putting $30 million toward a 2020 campaign initiative that would enable them to continue classifying their drivers as independent contractors.

The cynical view on Lyft’s update is that it’s looking to move people away from its ride-hail business, which is now under more threat than it has been in the past, and into other modes of transportation that rely less on working humans. A more neutral take is that this update is simply a way for Lyft to increase profits and better compete against Uber.