Lyft Will Give You $378 to Ditch Your Car Next Month


Hop right in, the ride's on them! - COURTESY OF LYFT
  • Hop right in, the ride's on them!

How much would it take for you to try a car-free lifestyle? $100? $200? What about $300 in Lyft credits plus a monthly pass for Metro?

From October 8 to November 6, that won't just be a hypothetical question. Working in conjunction with Citizens for Modern Transit, ride-sharing service Lyft intends to offer 50 lucky St. Louis residents that very package — $300 in subsidies for its service, plus full access to Metro, valued at $78 — in hopes they'll try life without cars for 30 days.

Joe Schlichter, Lyft's market manager for St. Louis, says the idea is part of the company's overall scheme to get people to rethink car ownership, which costs the average American $9,000 a year.

While in metro areas like St. Louis, it can be all too easy to assume there is no other option, Schlichter says the company is making some headway in persuading people that there is life without a personal automobile. "You'd be surprised at the pace with which people are giving up their cars and relying on services like Lyft and Metro." The "Ditch Your Car" promotion only aims to accelerate a phenomenon that's already underway.

Schlichter says the package's value was set to incentivize the curious.

“When we crunched the numbers, we determined that $300 in Lyft credit and the Metro pass would encourage people to take different forms of transportation," he says. "We realize everyone’s commute is different and the transit credits will take some folks further than others. But at the end of the day, the challenge will enable everyone in St. Louis ditch their rides, experience new ways of getting around and move toward a multimodal future.”

Getting in on the deal requires nothing more than a bit of luck. Interested St. Louisans are asked to enter online; winners will be chosen at random. And though they'll be asked to participate in a survey both before and after their car-free month, the offer operates strictly on the honor system. No one is going to take away your prize package if, say, you turn to your car for a mid-month trip to Six Flags.

Assures Schlichter, "We're not going to be following anybody around. We're trusting people to do it. Our main goal is that we want people to take the idea seriously."

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