It’s a familiar experience for ride-hailing drivers: a group of passengers get picked up from a bar, and each one wants to go home to a different place. Or a guy needs to make a last-minute stop at the flower shop on the way to an anniversary dinner with his girlfriend. Now Lyft is making it easier for passengers to request multiple stops through its app.
The feature, unveiled in a blog post on Monday, will allow passengers to use an “add” icon to list an additional stop en route to the final destination.
As Lyft puts it: “Whether you’re picking up a friend or a bottle of vino, just add your stop into the app and your route will instantly update — making it a seamless experience for you and your driver.”
It’s not exactly an earth-shattering innovation, but it will help Lyft further differentiate itself from Uber, the ride-hailing giant that is its chief rival in the United States.
It is possible to make multiple stops with Uber, but it’s handled through the informal process of following a passenger’s directions where to stop before the trip is completed. Uber notes, “Any distance traveled to additional stops prior to the rider’s final destination will also be included.”
There is a popular workaround: an Uber passenger can update his or her destination in the app either in transit or when they arrive.
But this could be complicated to explain to passengers during a trip, especially if, say, they were picked up after a night of drinking. And by handling the additional trips through the app, navigation can be seamlessly incorporated into the drivers’ GPS.
Time will tell if Uber plays copycat. There’s plenty of precedent for the companies piggy-backing on its each other’s innovations. It wasn’t long ago that Uber rolled out UberPOOL, its carpooling option; Lyft soon followed suit almost immediately with Lyft Line.
Lyft has not indicated when the new feature will be available.