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Lyft is bringing back shared rides – trips with multiple passengers who don’t know each other going to different places.

After pausing the service at the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Lyft has decided that the time is right to resurrect its cheapest form of journey. However, the company has announced some changes which, it hopes, will make the rides better for everyone involved. 

Starting from Monday, the new shared rides will be available in Philadelphia, Chicago, and Denver. It also has plans to expand the service to additional cities in the coming months.

Lyft’s new features will allow riders to order a car as soon as possible or plan for one to arrive up to half an hour in advance. If a ride is ordered in advance, users can expect to see small cost savings as Lyft will be better able to match their trip with other users going in the same direction. Lyft is also removing unexpected route changes and surprise pick-ups. This is so riders can trust that their shared journeys will get them there on time.

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However, given that the coronavirus pandemic is, sadly, far from over, Lyft has seen fit to add some new rules when sharing the car with strangers. All riders and drivers will be required to wear masks, shared rides are limited to just two riders at any one time, the front and middle seats must be kept empty, and there is no eating or drinking allowed.

Riders and drivers will be able to cancel the ride without any penalty and report any issues to Lyft, should the guidance not be followed.

“As the country reopens, we want our most affordable ride option to be available to our riders,” says Lyft President and Co-Founder John Zimmer. “After a year and a half without Shared rides, people are going to love the updates we’ve made – no surprise pickups, knowing your full route before you get in, and a new option to book ahead.”

Lyft has also said that as some drivers may not feel comfortable giving Shared rides quite yet, so it is giving them the option to decline Shared rides with no effect on their bonuses or acceptance rate.

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