Lyft Will Soon Let You Schedule Rides In Advance

Wait a second, doesn’t that completely negate the point of an on-demand ridesharing service?

Well, it’s something Lyft will soon be testing out in San Francisco, and is planning on expanding to other markets this summer. Via the Lyft Blog:

When it comes to getting around, passengers tell us they sometimes want the extra peace of mind to schedule a ride in advance. So today, we’re excited to start testing a new feature that allows passengers to schedule rides up to 24 hours in advance.

Whether you have an early-morning flight and need to get to the airport or have a make-or-break business meeting cross-town, scheduled rides will get you out the door and off to your destination at your specified pickup time.

Scheduling a ride is easy – when selecting your pickup location, tap the clock icon on the right, set the desired time and we’ll schedule your ride. It’s that easy. If your plans change, don’t sweat it; you can update or cancel your scheduled ride up to 30 minutes before your requested time.

Lyft

Basically if you want a car at 5PM, Lyft will determine how far away the closest driver is, and will then dispatch them a few minutes before the time the ride is scheduled for. The one challenge here is when there’s surge pricing, since scheduling rides in advance doesn’t impact the pricing, but rather just gets you whatever the price is at the moment.

What purpose does this really serve, then? Is requesting a ride a few minutes before you need it really too much work? I would have thought not, until yesterday.

I was talking to a friend who refuses to use ridesharing apps to airports, because he says he’d much rather pre-schedule a car and be assured of when the car will be here.

“You live in New York City, there’s always an Uber two minutes away.”

“But I need to know for sure.”

In this instance I think he’s being more stuck in his ways than logical, and I’m not sure even being able to schedule a ride in advance from a ridesharing service will change his mind. However, at least the option is there now.

I’m not sure this is actually a competitive offering to a car service, though. Generally when you order a car service you expect the driver to be there 10-15 minutes early, so that they’re ready to go when you are. I doubt that will be the case with Lyft, and rather that the ride will be timed to arrive exactly at the scheduled time. Heck, Uber is now testing charging if the driver has to wait more than two minutes.

Bottom line

While there’s not much substance to this new offering, I suspect some people will be comforted by the ability to schedule a car in advance, even if it doesn’t actually come with the same reliability as a car service. My mom just used Uber for the first time a few days ago, and I’m sure she’d love the ability to schedule a ride to the airport in advance, for example.

Could you see yourself ever scheduling a ride in advance using a ridesharing app, or do you know anyone who would be “comforted” by having the option?

Comments

  1. I will absolutely use this. Had a 5am flight from SFO a few months ago. Drive from my house is 30 minutes (w/ no traffic). Instead of hoping for an Uber nearby at 3:15a, I just burned an expiring free hotel night and stayed next to the airport. If this service was available, then I definitely would have scheduled a car.

  2. I’d love this if it was a way for a driver to pre-agree and get cars on the road. Frequently I need to go to the airport at 3-5am and there are no cars on the road. I end up having to drive, but would much rather take an uber if one were available.

  3. Yes, I’d use it. I used Wingz before exactly for that reason. It actually cost about 20% more (in my case) than Uber or Lyft, but certainty is worth something, I guess.

  4. I live in Manhattan (UWS) and there are many times when there is no Uber car available at all (or only within 10-15 minutes); such as Sunday afternoon, or Weekdays around 5am. If I had to get to the airport at those times, I would definitely use prebooking (Gett let’s you do that in NYC).

  5. I absolutely love this feature. I take Monday morning flights for work and there are several instances where I got late as the Uber/Lyft is too far away to get to my place. When requesting the card they show approx 5 mins away and once the ride is ready it shows 16 mins away. You can avoid all those issues with this.

  6. This is amazing!!!! I live in a great suburb of a major US city and good luck finding a Uber or Lyft when you need to go to the airport around 6 or 7AM. There are none and many times I had to call a taxi otherwise I would miss my flight. With this option I can book in advance and will have a car arriving at my house the time I need.

  7. Absolutely. For early morning flights or appointments, having the piece of mind that the car will be there at an appointed time is well worth it. Not all of us live in areas with lots of uber/lyft cars at our disposal 24/7.

  8. Yup, as has been mentioned, Lucky, there’s absolutely a use for this. Who wants to wake up at 3:30 am for a 6:00 am flight in a suburb of [Enter City Here] and realize it’ll take 20+ mins for an Uber? This feature solves that issue.

  9. This is VERY valuable to me. While these services are good with availability and consistency, there are times where I need to adhere to a schedule as perfectly as I can. This is why many time (especially outside the country), I use BLACKLANE. Look into it. I love the service and the quality of drivers is borderline excellent. I have a couple of horror Lyft stories about the driver somehow getting stuck in the same repeating circle at LAX for 20 minutes. I had to cancel on her and let out a scream into my jacket.

  10. I use Blacklane and another app sometimes for pre-booking especially to/from airports as it is more convenient.

    Meanwhile, Uber is testing CASH, yes CASH payments in some cities around the world. I live in Qatar and recieved an email from Uber saying they will start experimenting with the cash payments in Doha. Now, that sucks!

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