Lyft cuts prices nationwide by 20%, temporarily stops taking commission from drivers

Lyft supporters gather at a City Hall rally in February.

Lyft supporters gather at a City Hall rally in February.

If you use Lyft to get around town, your rides are about to cost a little less.

Just one week after announcing its $250 million Series D round, Lyft said it will decrease rates for passengers by up to 20 percent in each of its 30 cities starting today. In addition, it will temporarily stop taking a 20 percent commission from drivers as the company tests out the lower rates for riders.

The base fare in Seattle has dropped from $1.90 to $1.63, while cost per minute dropped from $0.35 to $0.30. You can see similar price changes at Lyft’s city-specific pages here.

Today’s price cuts come nearly three months after Lyft’s main competitor, UberX, reduced its prices by up to 34 percent in 16 of its cities in January.

For comparison, UberX charges $1.63 per mile and $0.30 per minute, along with a $2.14 base fare and a $5 minimum fee. Sidecar lets drivers set their own prices based on demand. Seattle taxis, meanwhile, charge $2.75 per mile and $0.50 per minute during waiting times, along with a $2.50 pickup fee.

Lyft also announced a “Happy Hour” program last month that lowers rates when demand goes down.

Photo courtesy of Lyft.

Photo courtesy of Lyft.

Lyft’s $250 million round and subsequent price cuts come as the San Francisco-based company is trying to work with city leaders in several of the cities it currently operates in over the legality of its service, which lets everyday drivers shuttle people around town in their cars. The conversation has been heated in Seattle, where the City Council recently voted to place a limit on the number of active vehicles a company like Lyft can have on the road at one time.

Lyft expressed disappointment with that decision, vowing to fight City Council and help its customers “defend their right to Lyft.” The company, along with Uber and Sidecar, is also supporting a new coalition that’s trying to collect enough signatures in order to protest the City Council’s new ordinance.

Despite its disdain for the new legislation, Lyft also recently announced plans to expand its service across the greater Seattle area. It also ditched its donation-based payment system in the city and has moved to mandatory pricing requirements. And after several concerns about its insurance policies, the company last month announced plans to beef up its coverage.

  • Guest

    I think there’s some bad reporting here. This sentence is factually incorrect and has a Lyft-leaning slant to it: “The conversation has been heated in Seattle, where the City Council recently voted to place a limit on the number of active vehicles a company like Lyft can have on the road at one time.”

    The truth is that the City Council recently voted to ALLOW Lyft and other new cab companies to operate on an interim basis, without enforcing any of the regulations that existing cab companies have to abide by. Yes, they set a limit on vehicles, but the City Council vote was a huge victory for these new cab companies, and comes at the expense of existing cab companies. Lyft should stop complaining about their victory.

    • Guest

      The city council is elected by the citizens of my city. We the citizenry want more low-cost transit. The city council opted to cap TNCs, thus violating its mandate from its citizens.

      We won’t reëlect these members and we will undo the harm they have done. For now, we are experiencing a setback in the War On Taxis.

      • Mike

        Woah there kiddo. I’m pretty sure I’ve lived here longer than you and I get to vote here too. Don’t tell people what I want.

        • Guest

          Mike, you don’t want higher prices. We’ve seen old Seattleites whinge about rising rent. Therefore we know that you want lower prices.

          Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face. Lower prices are good.

      • John Kane

        Since when does a “mandate” occur simply because you say so?

        • Guest

          Bing “representative government.”

          • samroni

            Bing? Is that a Seattle thing?

      • ClaimsAdjuster

        We the citizens of Seattle don’t want another Sofia Liu case. Bing “livery exclusion” on non-commercial auto policies.

        • Guest

          Listen, Mrs. Liu. I’m sorry that your six-year-old died, but she lived in San Francisco, and we all know what a hostile place that is. I live in Seattle, where TNCs have had a 100% child-death-free rate and where our TNCs are exempt from the so-called “delivery exclusion” that killed your Sofia.

          I understand and I empathise with your grief, but regulating TNCs won’t bring her back. You’ll just have to gestate another Sofia. You could call her Sofia II.

          • ClaimsAdjuster

            Mr Kalanick, Mrs Liu is focusing right now on making you pay up for your part in killing her child. A $1.5 mil judgement should wipe the smirk of your face, smartass.

            Luckily in Seattle the City Council is making your cabs get real insurance coverage. That is why you announced the expansion of your insurance program three days before the Council voted in the new regulations. Amazing what a little backbone from city government can accomplish.

          • ClaimsAdjuster

            Mr Kalanick, it is “livery” not “delivery”. Don’t compound your dishonesty with stupidity. And non-commercial insurance policies in Seattle exclude coverage for vehicles operating as taxis just as they do in the rest of the country.

    • Mike

      I’m actually disappointed the council has not upheld the laws that we tax payers of Seattle actually have voted for. I’m all for the new taxi companies, if they wish to do so legally. If they wish to change the laws, they can put it on the ballot and let me and my fellow citizens of Seattle vote on it.

  • Guest

    Thank you, Lyft. Lower prices is exactly what I wanted. Until our new city council takes their seats in 2016 and undoes the idiotic restrictions of 2014, this is the best thing to happen.

  • Madison Cab Driver

    Why don’t they just offer the service for free? I bet after awhile they will be making enough money just from the analytics from customers. Seems like a losing game for everyone in the end.

  • elbowman

    The truth no one on Geekwire seems to want to point out and acknowledge is Lyft/Uber/Sidecar, et al, are playing fast and loose with laws and regulations. They’re flying by the seat of their pants, at the risk of the public.

    Don’t agree? Read this PandoDaily article to get an image of the type of people running these organizations. This article is about Breeze and their neat new idea to provide cars for Uber/Lyft/Sidecar drivers. This highlights one of the shadiest business practices I’ve seen in awhile.

    Can’t wait to see what happens when someone really gets hurt by these crooks.

    http://pando.com/2014/04/08/breeze-rents-cars-to-uber-and-lyft-drivers-but-will-this-become-an-insurance-nightmare/

  • Justin Effing La Plante

    They must have noticed that they are charging 20% MORE than legal ride share companies in nearly all of the smaller cities they operate illegally in. We all know that Lyft is trying to transfer from individuals with their own cars to taking over connections for legal cab companies. Unfortunately there are LEGAL cab companies that already have p2p connection apps for customers that work far better than any of the crap Lyft and uber are using. What a waste.

  • ClaimsAdjuster

    Taylor Soper did not mention the rates for Flywheel or the For Hire vehicles in Seattle. They are just as cheap as UberX or Lyft. Instead Soper just mentioned taxi rates because he is in the pocket of Lyft, Sidecar & Uber.