Eighty percent of commuters currently drive to work alone. Why? Because getting to work at rush hour is already enough of a pain without detouring to pick up passengers. Seeking to change that dynamic, the ridesharing company Lyft on Tuesday is introducing a new feature that builds on the carpooling option it first introduced in August.
"Driver Destination," as the feature is called, gives drivers the option to pickup passengers that are going along the same route. Before, a Lyft driver logging into the app would get bombarded by requests from all over town. Entering a Driver Destination on the Lyft app narrows down the list of ride requests to only passengers going to a nearby drop-off location, giving commuters the ability to become part-time Lyft drivers on their way to and from work.
According to a blog post on the company website, this marks an "evolution" of the Lyft Line carpooling service designed to bring the "convenience of shared rides along shared routes to the driver side of the experience." Driver Destination continues Lyft's vision for ridesharing, which originated with Zimride, the first long-distance ridesharing service by Lyft's co-founders. Zimride was sold to car rental company Enterprise in 2013.
Lyft, which has raised more than $330 million in venture funding, is hoping that this new feature will help recruit more drivers during rush hour with the incentive of making upwards of $400 a week.
Driver Destination is also Lyft's latest bid to differentiate itself from Uber beyond which can offer the cheapest ride. The two startups, the Coke and Pepsi of the burgeoning ridesharing sector, have a history of releasing similar products within days of one another (sometimes even on the same day). Lyft is currently suing its former COO and now Uber VP, Travis VanderZanden, for stealing company secrets, including strategic plans.
Two weeks ago, Lyft launched a business offering to partner with companies and encourage them to buy and share Lyft credits with employees. Uber's most recent evolution was more lifestyle-oriented: Partnering with Spotify to stream passengers' music playlist during rides.