Would you share a Lyft with a stranger?

Posted at 8:45 AM, Apr 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-15 20:44:06-04

SAN DIEGO - Lyft and community leaders Friday unveiled the Lyft Line ridesharing option in San Diego, which allows customers of the ride-hailing firm to share their rides with other passengers traveling a similar route, and get a discount in return.

According to Lyft, passengers can get up to 60 percent off the normal cost of their trip. Lyft says it will honor the lower rate even if it cannot find another passenger.

Rival Uber offers a rideshare option in some cities, but not San Diego.

According to Lyft, 80 percent of the seats of vehicles on the roadway at a given time are unoccupied. Around 40 percent of Lyft passengers are choosing Lyft Line in other cities where the service is available, company officials said.

"My feeling is, with options like Lyft Line, we can significantly reduce congestion and make rides more affordable," San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said.

The program will also help the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, he said.

Lyft users can open their application in an iPhone or Android device, choose the Line option, enter their destination and request a ride. The app will set a price upfront and match up passengers.

Payment is handled via the app, according to Lyft, which has also recently introduced the ridesharing option in Denver, Philadelphia, San Jose, Seattle and Newark.

The unveiling comes at a time when ride-hailing companies are facing criticism for security issues and their impact on the traditional taxi industry. In Los Angeles, the number of taxi trips has fallen by one-third since Lyft and Uber began business there in 2013, according to the Los Angeles Times.