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The Australian guide to Lyft

Everything you need to know about the US ridesharing platform.

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If you're planning on visiting the US or just hoping that the Uber competitor will be launching in Australia sometime soon, you might be wondering exactly what Lyft is and how it works. This guide will take you through what you need to know about Lyft from an Australian perspective, including how it differs from Uber and whether we will be seeing it hit our shores anytime soon.

What is Lyft?

Lyft is a US-based ridesharing service that is currently available in about 300 US cities. It works in a similar way to Uber in that users can sign up as a driver or a rider and it uses a rating system.

How do you use Lyft as a rider?

If you're looking to ride with Lyft, you'll need to download the Lyft app and create an account. Once you've done this, you can request a ride and Lyft will match you to a nearby driver. You can track them on the app and you will also get an estimated time of arrival.

After the ride, Lyft will charge whichever card or PayPal account you nominated in your account. You can also tip the driver within the app and rate your ride from one to five stars. Similar to Uber, drivers with low ratings are dropped from the service. Lyft won't let you see your passenger rating as you can with Uber.

How much does Lyft cost?

Prices for Lyft differ depending on the type of car you select, but you can get a price estimate before you accept your ride.

As with Uber, Lyft operates under a surge pricing model referred to as "prime time". This is where a percentage is added to the ride subtotal. You will see this percentage added to your price estimate.

Pricing changes, but according to estimatefares.com, the following average prices apply:

Initial costService feePer minutePer mileMinimum fare
Lyft Plus$1.50$1.90$0.18$1.50$4.70

What car options does Lyft offer?

  • Lyft. This is the default car option and is available everywhere Lyft is. It's a sedan vehicle for you and three friends.
  • Lyft Line. This is a shared line service. You will be matched with others going the same way, allowing you to split the cost. Prices are fixed and will be less than a standard Lyft, but this service is only available in select US cities.
  • Lyft Plus. Vehicles of this type have six seats and are available in every US Lyft city.
  • Lyft Premier. A high-end vehicle that is available in select US cities.
  • Lyft Lux. Lux vehicles will be black cars driven by "top" drivers.
  • Lyft Lux SUV. Same as a Lux vehicle but for up to six passengers.

When is Lyft coming to Australia?

There have been rumours of Lyft coming to Australia from as far back as 2015, but nothing official has been announced. In an interview with Mashable, Lyft's director of strategic partnerships, Insiya Lokhandwala, said the company was "ruthlessly focused" on America.

"There is still a lot of work we have to do in the US," she said. "Our investors are happy for us to continue to focus here."

So, it looks like we'll have to wait until we have something other than GoCatch to choose from in the Australian ridesharing market.

Picture: Shutterstock

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