Just two days after the Seattle City Council voted to regulate the new app-based transportation companies, Lyft is no longer accepting donations as payments to drivers for rides.
Starting Thursday, passengers using Lyft in Seattle cannot decide to name their own price and must adhere to Lyft’s pricing requirements.
In the past, Lyft’s drivers did not collect “fares,” but rather what it called “donations.” Lyft would suggest a payment amount, but riders could technically reduce that to zero.
Now, though, Lyft will calculate the price of a ride based on distance and time with a $6 minimum payment. Rides will cost $1.90 per mile and $0.35 per minute, along with a $1.50 pickup fee and a $1 “Trust & Safety” fee, which covers insurance.
“Starting tomorrow, we’re transitioning from donations to regular payments in Seattle, providing increased transparency for passengers and greater peace of mind for drivers,” Lyft wrote in an email to customers.
By contrast, Seattle taxis charge $2.75 per mile and $0.50 per minute during waiting times, along with a $2.50 pickup fee.
Lyft still collects donations in ten cities, while charging a set amount in 14 other cities, now including Seattle. The company has noted that it can screen passengers who have a history of giving low donations, lessening their chance of receiving future rides.
Lyft, which is raising a $150 million Series D round, will soon also implement a new program that discounts the cost of a ride by up to 50 percent when there are drivers available but not as many ride requests. It also raises the price of rides when demand is high.
Lyft recently announced plans to expand its service across the greater Seattle area, despite the fact that the Seattle City Council on Monday voted to cap the number of vehicles that UberX, Sidecar and Lyft drivers can have on the streets at one time to 150.
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