Lyft is reportedly launching a new challenge initiative this month in its Chicago service region aimed at incentivizing the use of ride-sharing and public transportation instead of driving. The challenge will be open to as many as 100 participants and the company is effectively asking users to completely give up their personal vehicle for a full 30 days. The reward for doing that will be $550 of credits for use with alternate modes of transport. That's split into a few different services, including $300 for carpooling with Lyft's shared ride service. $45 of the reward is in the form of a month-long pass to use with the company's recently purchased bike-sharing business Divvy. Finally, $100 will be provided in credit for Zipcar along with a further $105 for use with the city's “L” train and bus services. That should be enough for the average resident of Chicago to move around the city as needed without inconvenience for the entire duration of the challenge, according to Lyft.
Getting in on the challenge won't be too difficult either and the ride-sharing company won't be keeping direct tabs on any participants. A short application process is required, in addition to proof that applicants actually own the vehicle that they'll need to give up for 30 days. Lyft will then conduct interviews upon acceptance and only asks that drivers in the program keep the world updated via social media throughout the experience. When the challenge comes to an end the second set of interviews will be undertaken in order to garner feedback. Specifically, Lyft wants to gauge reactions before and after participants go without their own personal vehicle. However, the tech company also wants to gain insight into what drawbacks and benefits were gained and show that not owning a vehicle can bring substantial cost savings.
Of course, a single data point isn't a great way to gauge whether or not abandoning personal car ownership is worth it. So Lyft also plans to replicate its experimental offer, beginning with a similar challenge in Portland later on this year. That won't be an identical experience, however, since applicants will be asked to stop driving for a full year. Incentives for that particular challenge are likely still being worked out and haven't been revealed yet. That later program will almost certainly depend on the success of the Chicago experiment as well.