Rideshare company Lyft will soon be testing a new transit model in San Francisco, dubbed Lyft Shuttle. The Verge explains:
Rather than arriving directly at your door and then dropping you off at your exact location, the driver operates along a fixed route, with predetermined pick-up and drop-off locations. So people using the service may save a little money on fares, but they’ll also have some walking to do.
Locals of course may already be familiar with this wild, disruptive concept under a different name: a bus.
In this case, however, it’s an offshoot of Lyft’s carpooling service, meaning that the San Francisco-based company has very probably just recreated the original innovation of public transit step by step all over again, in a sort of parallel evolution.
As for the where of it, the San Francisco Examiner picked up a tentative map of routes, revealing about two dozen stops in SoMa, the Financial District, the Marina, Haight, and Fillmore, including along Chestnut Street, Van Ness Avenue, and Mission between Fourth Street and the Ferry Building.
Gwen Belomy, a Lyft spokesperson, tells Curbed SF that the program is now ongoing. “Passengers will see Shuttle as an option in Lyft Line within the toggle,” but only within certain hours: 6:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Fares depend on how far you’re going.
The Lyft routes don’t penetrate terribly far into most neighborhoods, are much pricier than Muni, and are already competing with existing private bus services like Chariot.
Still, given how much San Franciscans love to complain about public transit—and how often Muni seems to go out of its way to provoke the grumbling—if Lyft just shows up on time it might have won half the battle.