Lyft’s Carpool finds that drivers–aren’t as excited about picking up a stranger on their way to work as the services expected.
When Lyft launched Carpool in March, the company cited statistics like 76% of Americans drive to work alone and Bay Area commuters specifically spend an average of 75 hours stuck in traffic per year. Drivers using Lyft Carpool could earn up to $10 per ride on their normal commute by picking up other workers heading in the same direction.
Five months later, Lyft will shut down its carpool feature after not enough drivers opted into the program, FORBES has learned. On Thursday, the company notified the engineering team responsible for launching and running Lyft Carpool that they will be transitioned to other products.
Commuting remains the unattainable white whale of the ridesharing industry, a tempting goal that represents a much larger share of driving than taxi use.
Casual Carpool, an informal system of rider pickups, already exists in the Oakland area and has its share of loyal users, but Lyft and other tech companies have tried to elbow their way in to the potentially massive market. Uber has its own similar program called UberCommute, which began piloting in China. In May, Google launched Waze Carpool, which attempts the same kind of matching.
Ultimately, Lyft’s failure with this limited Bay Area roll out may show that users–especially drivers–aren’t as excited about picking up a stranger on their way to work as the services expected.
Brian Solomon covers technology and the on-demand economy for Forbes. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.