Lyft shuts down Bay Area carpool service five months after launch

Lyft had lofty goals when it launched its carpool service in March.

Namely, the ride-hailing startup wanted to make the daily commute less of a nightmare for Bay Area workers. Lyft Carpool promised to match commuters  with others traveling in the same direction — allowing them to speed to work in the carpool lane while making a little extra cash.

But it appears commuters weren’t ready for the change. Lyft now says it’s shutting down the service, five months after launching.

Fortune first reported the news Thursday night, and Lyft confirmed to SiliconBeat on Friday that it is “pausing” the Carpool feature. The company declined to share how many trips had been booked using the service.

“While we think a scheduled carpool feature is the right long-term strategy, it is too soon to scale to a meaningful level where supply matches demand,” a spokesman wrote in an emailed statement. “We learned a lot and will apply it to new and existing projects — like Lyft Line — as we drive our vision forward to solve pain points in commuting.”

Lyft Line is another group ride-hailing option offered by the startup, but it can get pricey as a daily option for long commutes.

According to Fortune, the problem was that Lyft wasn’t able to convince enough drivers to sign up. The company alerted the Lyft Carpool engineering team on Thursday that they will be moved to other products, Fortune reported.

Lyft first launched the carpool feature to serve commuters traveling along 101 between San Francisco and Palo Alto, with plans to expand beyond 101 and possibly into other metropolitan areas. Riders paid between $4 and $10, and drivers were supposed to be able to make up to $5,000 a year. The service stemmed from a partnership between Lyft and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s 511 Rideshare program.

The carpool feature was another step in the effort by both Lyft and Uber to make hailing a ride via an app — once thought of as a luxury for weekend and evening use — an everyday option for commuters. The ultimate goal, both companies have said, is to replace car ownership for everyday Americans.

Image: The Lyft app, showing the new Lyft Carpool service. (Lyft)


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