Uber and Lyft have famously destroyed the taxi industry by enabling anyone with a not-too-beat-up Toyota Corolla to start carrying passengers for money. But it’s also no secret that down the line, both companies want to challenge traditional car ownership as a concept.
For Uber, that means heavy investment (by whatever means!) in autonomous vehicles. For Lyft, that means a publicity stunt that will give 100 individuals in Chicago $550 a month in transport credits to give up their personal vehicle.
Lyft’s proposal is intriguing: it will offer its guinea pigs $550 in credits for a handful of diffferent shared transportation options. They’ll get $300 in Lyft carpool credit, $45 for a monthly Divvy bike-share pass, $100 in Zipcar time-share credit, and $105 for “L” train and bus service. Lyft claims that the total cost of car ownership in Chicago, including gas, parking, and maintenance, can be as high as $1,000, so this is supposed to prove that you can get around the city more conveniently for less money if you don’t own a car.
“We are literally asking people to get rid of their cars,” David Katcher, Lyft’s general manager for the Midwest, told The Verge. “Basically, we’re giving people this opportunity to park their cars for 30 days, and here’s everything you need to get around this city.”
The promotion fits into Lyft’s more general mission, which has spread from car ridesharing to be more specifically about the future of urban transit. The company recently acquired bike-sharing company Motivate for $250 million, and its app now showcases public transit options as well as cars. Uber, on the other hand, thinks the future will involve a lot of very cheap Uber rides once it can build fully autonomous cars and cut the drivers out of the equation entirely.