With so much uncertainty amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it's more important than ever to have access to dependable transportation for goods and services. That's the driving force behind Lyft's (LYFT -4.30%) Call A Lyft Ride program, a service aimed toward seniors without smartphones or other consumers who prefer not to use smartphone apps.
The setup is simple: Potential riders, or their family members, can call 631-201-LYFT and book a ride with a Lyft agent. The driver can be expected to arrive shortly afterwards. Agents will be available from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST, with payment accepted by debit or credit card over the phone.
Without the app to track the driver-arrival process, consumers using this service will be able to receive texts with important information. After the booking process is completed, the service will provide a link for consumers to track their ride, essentially offering all the advantages of Lyft transportation without riders having to use a smartphone app. The service is currently available in selected Florida cities. While Call A Lyft Ride opens the door to a potential new consumer base, investors should keep in mind that competitor Uber had tried a similar service and later shut the program down.
Call A Lyft Ride isn't the company's only app-less option. Consumers can also request a ride through ride.lyft.com, and get information and updates via text.
Call A Lyft Ride might not be a strategy that moves the needle for Lyft's overall business, but it doesn't mean the strategy isn't worth doing, especially considering it will serve vulnerable consumers in need of transportation. Further, Lyft ride volumes were down 52% and 51% in December and January, respectively, compared to the prior year, with depressed demand from the COVID-19 pandemic. Investors should expect management to be exploring all options for ride volume on its journey toward profitability.