Lyft, the on-demand ride-sharing startup known for its pink mustaches and fist bumps, is aiming to create a real-world social network.
With Lyft, all you have to do is tap a button to request a ride. Within usually just a few minutes, your driver will pick you up and greet you with a friendly fist bump.
“We see Lyft as not just an app, but a movement of people coming together in cities and having conversations about things that matter,” Lyft CEO John Zimmer tells Business Insider. “You’re around some of the most interesting people in the world and you don’t talk to them. More and more people are craving in-person interactions.”
That’s why Lyft is trying to build a real-world social network that just so happens to be the best way to get from point A to point B, Zimmer says. Down the road, Lyft may integrate more of your social graph into the experience. That means you could get a driver who has similar interests or mutual friends.
But even without that, Lyft drivers and passengers are already forming deep connections. One Thanksgiving, Zimmer says, a driver invited a passenger over to dinner because they had nowhere else to go. Lyft drivers have also been helpful to passengers going through breakups. On the flipside, passengers have even brought flowers for drivers.
But Lyft still has quite a long road ahead. Moving forward, Zimmer expects regulation to continue to create hurdles along the way.
Just last week, the city council in Chicago subpoenaed insurance records from ride-sharing firms like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar. Meanwhile, over in Seattle, the city council recently approved legislation that would allow only 150 drivers from each ride-sharing app to be on the road at any one time.
To address some of these concerns, Lyft has recently been stepping up its insurance game. Last month, Lyft extended its collision coverage for drivers who already have it on their personal policies, and added coverage for injuries to drivers and passengers who get hit by uninsured or under-insured motorists. Just yesterday, Lyft announced that it would also roll out insurance coverage for drivers on duty even if they don’t have a passenger in the car.
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