July 20, 2017

Lyft Shuttle: A bus, but without all those pesky poor people

Sign for a Lyft Pickup and Dropoff zone
By Another Believer (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Here’s a modern-day startup riddle: When is a bus not really a bus?

The ride-hailing company Lyft rolled out its new shuttle service this month, allowing users in San Francisco and Chicago to “ride for a low fixed fare along convenient routes, with no surprise stops.” Some were quick to identify this supposed innovation as a bus, and they seized the opportunity to mock tech-world myopia. “Coming soon, Lyft Open: It only has two wheels, no doors, and you power it with your feet,” tweeted TV host Samantha Bee. A cascade of jokes followed about the various wheels that Lyft could reinvent next.

Others, such as Slate’s Will Oremus, insisted Lyft Shuttle is not a bus — which is precisely what makes it dangerous. It’s “a service that is likely to compete with city buses, for better or worse,” he wrote, which means it poses a threat to public transit and the people who rely on it by siphoning off the most affluent riders.

According to Pew Research Center data, “Americans who are lower-income, black or Hispanic, immigrants or under 50 are especially likely to use public transportation on a regular basis.” Meanwhile ride-hailing apps, reports Pew, are especially popular among college […]

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The News for the Gig Economy Staff is constantly searching the web for the latest news regarding freelancing and gig platforms to bring them to you in one handy place. All articles with this generic author have been sourced with the original location at the bottom of the piece. We encourage our readers to view the original source of all excerpts. NGE is a project of ARC Online, LLC.

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