Lyft is a top-rated ride-hailing service in the United States, available in over 600 cities, including New York City, San Francisco, and San Diego.
You can’t beat the convenience of ordering your ride in an app and getting to where you need to be quick.
As time goes on, Lyft continues to add to its menu of services, including Lyft XL.
One of these services was Lyft Line.
This guide will tell you everything you need to know about how the service works and its costs.
Table Of Contents
What Was Lyft Line?
Lyft Line was still a rideshare service like all of Lyft’s services.
The key to Lyft Line, though, was that it worked very similarly to carpooling.
So, instead of a private ride, you might be sharing with a stranger going to the exact same location.
This shared ride offered a fast and easy way to get where you’re going, and it even allowed you to get a discounted fare, provided that you don’t mind a bit of company.
Lyft Line was a service that was a little more expensive than public transit but allowed Lyft users to avoid the hecticness of buses or trains.
Over the years, Lyft Line rebranded itself to Lyft Shared, the same service under a different name.
How Did It Work?
For a rider, Lyft Line worked just like requesting any other type of Lyft.
Enter your location and your desired end destination, and Lyft would connect you with a driver.
Along the way, if any other riders were going to the same destination, the driver would be alerted and pick them up.
Once you got to your final destination, everyone got out, and you’d be all set!
Where Was Lyft Line Available?
Check out Uber’s cities page to see if Lyft Line (now Lyft Shared) is available in your area.
From there, you can see available services and even get fare estimates.
Like Washington DC and San Jose, larger cities generally have all levels available.
Lyft Line wasn’t available everywhere, but Lyft is continually refining its service, so it’s always possible it might get added in the future.
Lyft Line Comparisons
One of the great things about ridesharing is that you have many options.
Lyft offers an excellent service to its customers, but other businesses out there offer similar things.
It’s all about what works best for you.
Let’s take a look at a few of the options.
Lyft Line vs. Regular Lyft
In either case, you’re getting the same vehicles and same drivers.
Lyft Line offered a cheaper option, but a regular Lyft ride provides more flexibility and comfort.
With Lyft Line, riders lost the flexibility of making multiple stops or bringing lots of luggage, but you could save some money and potentially get to meet some new people.
Unlike regular Lyft rides, Lyft Line drivers were not allowed to deviate from the set GPS path.
A regular Lyft is probably suited best for trips to the airport or trips where you have lots of passengers.
Uber X is another competitor in this price range.
Lyft Line vs. Uber Pool
Uber Pool is Uber’s version of Lyft Line.
They offer more or less the same service and idea.
The key differences are that Uber provides a slightly more generous waiting period (Uber Pool drivers will wait 2 minutes for passengers at the pickup point where Lyft Line drivers would only stay for 1) and that Uber’s surge pricing tends to be more expensive than Lyft’s.
Other than that, the offerings are pretty much the same.
Lyft Line vs. Sidecar
Sidecar was a former competitor to Lyft Line.
Sidecar started in 2011 and offered both riders and drivers the ability to set their own prices.
Users loved the technology and flexibility, but Sidecar couldn’t gain a foothold in the market where Lyft and Uber already dominated.
As a result, Sidecar shut down in 2015.
Lyft Line vs. Zimride
Zimride and Lyft have a lot of similarities, and it’s because they started as the same company!
Zimride started as a combination of a social network and ridesharing service in 2007.
As a result, riders and drivers could post personal tastes and preferences, which would match them up with similar personalities.
Part of Zimride was the Lyft app, which took off on its’ own.
From there, Zimride sold its business to Enterprise Rent-A-Car in 2013.
After that, Zimride still ran, but primarily within universities.
Zimride ended operations at the end of 2020.
How Much Did Lyft Line Cost?
One of the benefits to Lyft Line was lower pricing for riders.
Because multiple riders would be sharing the car, they’d be splitting the fees.
On average, Lyft Line rides were 10-20% cheaper than regular Lyft rides.
Of course, things like surge pricing could significantly impact that, but no matter what, a Lyft Line would always cost less than a standard Lyft.
Even if your Lyft Line never picked up any riders, you’d pay just what your initial estimate said.
No need to worry about extra charges.
The best way to figure out potential Lyft rates in advance is to use their official fare estimator.
Related: How much does Lyft cost?
Driving for Lyft Line
With so many options for riders, there are also that many Lyft options for drivers.
Fortunately, the process was pretty straightforward.
How Did It Work?
Lyft Line/Shared requests look precisely the same on the Lyft driver app, although they showed up marked as Line requests.
That gave drivers the indication that they might be picking up more than one passenger.
Lyft Line would accommodate three or four passengers per ride, depending on the vehicle.
Currently, Lyft Shared only accommodates two passengers.
Lyft has also updated its guidelines around shared drives to help keep passengers and drivers safe.
Could You Choose Lyft Line or Regular Lyft Rides?
You could not choose Lyft Line or Regular Lyft.
When a ride pops up for a Lyft driver, the expectation is that they’ll take it no matter what the level of service.
Not accepting rides or letting them lapse will usually hurt a driver’s acceptance rate, driver rating, and ride streaks.
However, to help keep drivers safe, Lyft was allowing drivers to decline shared rides at least through the end of 2021 with no consequences.
That policy will likely continue to be updated in the future as the pandemic evolves.
How Much Did It Pay?
Lyft Line rides were, on average, 10-15% longer than regular Lyfts.
That means that drivers would see a similar uptick in their pay to match the mileage.
On top of that, because Lyft Line rides were accommodating multiple pickups, that would double or triple potential gratuities for drivers.
How to Book a Lyft Line Ride
Booking a Lyft ride of any kind is incredibly easy whether you’re booking from your phone or your computer.
Here are the instructions for both.
Step-By-Step Instructions (Phone App)
- Open the app and log in/create your account.
- Tap on “Search Destination” and enter your desired destination.
- Select your preferred ride type. Previously, Lyft Line was an option. Now, you can use Lyft Shared.
- Tap on “Select Lyft.”
- Confirm your pickup location and tap “Confirm and Request.”
From there, make sure your notifications are on or keep your eye on the app.
You will receive your driver’s information and estimated time of arrival.
Step-By-Step Instructions (Web)
Did you know that you can schedule a ride from your computer instead of your phone?
- Go to Lyft’s site. Create an account or log in.
- Enter your desired pickup and drop-off locations.
- Select “Ride details.” This part is where you could pick Lyft Line or whatever ride type you like.
- Click “Request a Lyft ride.”
Lyft will text your phone with updates and estimates.
Be aware, though, that booking rides through the Web are accepted with a credit card payment only.
So, things like Apple Pay, Google Pay, and PayPal are not accepted this way.
Lyft Line FAQs
Understanding all the ins and outs of Lyft Line could be confusing, so here are some of the more frequently asked questions.
Is Lyft Line still happening in the pandemic?
Lyft Line is no more, but Lyft Shared is available!
At the onset of the pandemic, Lyft ended carpooling-type rides.
However, in July 2021, they announced that these were starting to resume across the United States.
Importantly, Lyft rides can now only accommodate two total passengers, and both passengers and drivers must wear facemasks at all times.
Additionally, both the front passenger and rear middle seats must remain open to encourage distancing.
Can you order a Lyft Line for two people?
While that was previously an option, the two-passenger maximum for Lyft makes that impossible.
However, if you have two passengers, you can still book a regular Lyft.
Lyft Line was an excellent option for people who liked the idea of ridesharing but wanted to save a little bit of money.
It may be gone, but, fortunately for Lyft riders, Lyft Shared is a new option that offers the same great level of service.