Lyft Introduces Carpooling Feature in San Francisco Bay Area

  • Service is called Lyft Carpool, costing riders $4 to $10
  • Carpooling isn't popular in the U.S., unlike in Europe

Lyft Inc., the U.S. largest ride-sharing service behind Uber Technologies Inc., is trying to change Americans’ habits around carpooling, with a new feature designed specifically for commuters.

The service, called Lyft Carpool, rolled out in the San Francisco Bay Area on Tuesday. It matches commuters with drivers eager to make a little extra cash en route to work and help cut down on congestion. Passengers will pay $4 to $10 per trip, allowing drivers to make as much as $400 a month, the company said.

Lyft Carpool is different from Lyft Line and UberPool, which pair multiple passengers heading in similar directions with professional drivers on their systems. Lyft won’t take a commission from commuter carpool transactions for now, according to a report in Forbes.

With the carpooling service, Lyft is returning to its roots. In 2007, founders John Zimmer and Logan Green launched Zimride, which matched passengers with drivers for longer-haul trips. The service mostly failed to expand beyond college campuses, and the business eventually transformed into Lyft.

Carpooling is more common in Europe, where French startup BlaBlaCar is valued at $1.6 billion and Ireland’s Carma built its business alongside government transit agencies.

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