In a statement to The Post, Lyft said it was “pausing” the service.
“In March, we started testing a scheduled carpool product in a small corridor of the Bay Area,” a company spokesman said. “While we think a scheduled carpool feature is the right long-term strategy, it is too soon to scale to a meaningful level where supply matches demand. We learned a lot and will apply it to new and existing projects — like Lyft Line — as we drive our vision forward to solve pain points in commuting.”
Lyft Line is a separate feature aimed at riders: those headed in the same direction can share rides for a discounted fare. It was not affected by the change.
Lyft Carpool was essentially a paid version of slugging, the casual carpooling system popular in Northern Virginia. Drivers picked up a rider along their commute and used the carpool lane to get to work, earning up to $10 for the ride.
For riders, the option to grab a seat meant discounted fares. Commuters simply scheduled a ride and the app paired them with a driver heading in the same direction. Rides cost between $4 and $10.
At the time of its launch, Lyft called the feature a “revolution in casual carpooling.”
Some read the Lyft Carpool’s discontinuation as a signal that Lyft was facing economic troubles, even on the heels of a $500 million investment by General Motors earlier this year. Word that Lyft was killing off carpooling followed a New York Times report that the company was struggling to find a buyer, though Lyft says the issues are in no way related.
Still, some noted the significance of the underdog abandoning a hotly touted feature amid its race with industry giant Uber.
In November, Uber launched a similar — but less comprehensive — feature for drivers: “Driver Destinations.” It came to the District and five other cities earlier this summer, allowing its drivers to pick up fares on their way to work, while headed home, or going anywhere in their general direction of travel. There was no additional upside for commuters, however.
An Uber spokesman said Tuesday the company had no plans to pause that service.
(Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos is an investor in Uber.)