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Lyft wants to help you get rid of your car

Lyft wants to help you get rid of your car
[Photo: Carles Rabada/Unsplash]

If you live in Los Angeles, Chicago, or San Francisco, and you’re tired of the hassles of owning a car in the city, Lyft will help you get rid of your vehicle. The company’s new “Ditch Your Car” pilot program will offer car owners a number of perks if they give up their vehicles—including connecting them with the resale platform Carvana, offering $250 in Lyft credits, and giving them three free months of Lyft Pink, a premium membership.

The ride-hailing company has envisioned itself liberating people from urban car ownership since the beginning. “We want people to think of transportation as a service enabled by technology, instead of as an expensive and large piece of hardware to own,” Lyft cofounder Logan Green wrote in a Medium post in 2015. To a small extent, that may be happening naturally; nearly half of Lyft riders told the company that they drove less last year because they were using the service, and nearly a quarter said that owning a car had become less important.

In 2018, the company ran another Ditch Your Car pilot, offering Lyft credits, public transit fare, bike share credit, and Zipcar membership to people who were willing to stop driving for a month. The new pilot goes further. If the company hasn’t yet achieved the goal of taking cars off roads—one study in San Francisco linked ride-hailing companies to worsening traffic—it’s possible that if Lyft can convince more people to actually sell their cars, they’ll be less likely to drive on short trips (and in some cases, might use Lyft’s scooters or bikes instead of hailing a ride).

“To achieve a future in which cities are built around people instead of cars, we need to fundamentally change the way we think about personal car ownership and offer seamless ways to help decrease it,” says Lilly Shoup, senior director for transportation policy at Lyft.

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