Lyft follows in Uber’s footsteps with the launch of upfront fares

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If your wallet winces whenever your Lyft ride ends with a fare way more than you expected, then you’ll be pleased to hear the company is making a change to its app that’ll bring an end to those nasty surprises.

The ride-hailing outfit said Tuesday it’s introducing upfront pricing, which, as the term suggests, lets you know the fare before your journey begins.

“Now you can ride a little easier knowing how much you’ll be charged – no surprises,” Lyft said in a blog post announcing the new addition to its app.

The feature will launch for riders in select U.S. cities this week before expanding to more locations “in the coming months.”

To see the price of the fare, simply open the app and enter your destination. If you’re happy with the cost, tap “Request” to connect with a driver.

To be clear, the total includes all fees, taxes, tolls, Prime Time (aka surge pricing), and any promotions that apply. Of course, you don’t have to add a destination when you request a ride. In that case, your fare will be calculated on the usual time and distance and be displayed at the end of the ride.

Rival ride-sharing outfit Uber has been offering upfront pricing since June this year. The feature has received some criticism, however, after a number of drivers and passengers suggested it wasn’t as transparent as it purported to be, and that the company was sometimes overcharging riders without paying drivers the difference.

Attempting to explain itself, Uber said recently: “With upfront fares, riders agree to a fare that’s calculated in advance while drivers get paid based on a per-mile, per-minute rate as is normal with UberX. Because no predictive model is 100 percent perfect, what riders pay and drivers earn on a trip may differ slightly from time to time.”

This week Lyft told TechCrunch that the Prime Time time portion of a fare – if there is one – won’t show up on a rider’s receipt with its new feature, which apparently makes it similar to how Uber no longer displays surge pricing costs when they come into play.


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