Lyft Line Service Arrives in Boston

Let the ride hailing wars begin.

Lyft's $7 fare zone. Graphic courtesy of Lyft.

Lyft’s $7 fare zone. Graphic courtesy of Lyft.

Watch out taxis because it appears Boston is at the beginning of a ride hailing app war.

In August, Uber launched UberPool, a service that allows passengers to share rides if they are traveling in the same general direction but to different final destination. This practice allows the passengers to split fares and pay less than they would if they were traveling alone.

This week, Lyft is launching its own version of a carpooling service in Boston known as Lyft Line.

Like UberPool, the service allows a rider to lower the cost of their ride by splitting the fare with another rider who happens to be along their route or has a common destination. For a limited time, Lyft is capping fares on its Lyft Line service within core Boston and Cambridge markets at $7. A map of the areas subject to the promotional deal is above. The service officially launches in Boston on Friday.

Boston is the fifth city where Lyft has launched Lyft Line, joining San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and Austin. The Lyft Line service has become so popular that it now accounts for more than 50 percent of all Lyft rides in San Francisco and New York, markets where the service has been available since 2014.

Users of the carpool service will pay fares that are roughly 10-60 percent lower than the normal fare according to Lyft, though various factors will determine what the exact discount is.

On its website, Lyft explains this service is different from a regular single ride service because it relies on the discipline of the driver and the punctuality of the passenger.

“Since there may be other passengers depending on you, drivers will not wait more than a minute at your pickup location,” said an explainer on the site.

In order to keep the fare low and other passengers happy, drivers are not allowed to stop at points along the route. Oh, and leave your pets at home as a courtesy to other possible passengers along the route.

The carpooling services have arrived on the scene in Boston at a time when the tension between ride hailing apps and taxis is at an all time high. New statewide regulations on ride hailing apps are likely in the not-too-distant future while the future of the taxi industry appears grim.