Lyft quickly finds 150,000 people eager to ditch their cars

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DETROIT – Lyft's upcoming campaign to convince motorists that they do not need a car is a breakthrough start, said a top manager of the company Tuesday.

A week after Lyft started its & # 39; Ditch Your Car & # 39; program, more than 150,000 people have signed up to participate in what amounts to an experiment that encourages participants to park their vehicles for a month in exchange for a bundled package of transport alternatives.

Not all will be registered in the program and it is unclear how much the travel service will accept. But Raj Kapoor, chief strategy officer at Lyft, said that the number of people who showed interest has far exceeded the projections of a few thousand of the company. The interest, he said, is indicative of a generational shift in travel preferences.

"Young people care about access to cars, not property, and their identity is not so much tied to a car as it used to be," he said.

Drivers who have been selected to participate will have access to shared Lyft vehicles, Zipcar's short-term car rental, local transit and bicycle rental partners. They park their car for a period of 30 days from Monday to 6 November.

The program is being implemented in 35 cities in the United States, including New York and Los Angeles, and it follows an iteration of the ditch program conducted in Chicago, with participants receiving a monthly fee of $ 550.

The Lyft executives are prominent proponents of an anti-property world view, which they believe is necessary to reduce emissions and traffic congestion. In 2016, co-founder of the company, John Zimmer, predicted that car ownership in 2025 would be dead in large cities, and this program is an attempt to accelerate this shift.

Although he shrank back for a certain period of time, Kapoor said: "It is clear to me – I do not know the year – we will reach an important turning point, we think this is the beginning."

His remarks came during a panel discussion about "The Battle For Driverless Cars", part of the Tech Talk series organized by The New York Times.

Kapoor said that the idea of ​​bundling transport services in one payment follows broad consumer trends, and this is not the first attempt by Lyft in that space. This year, the company introduced a series of subscription plans ranging from $ 199 per month for 30 journeys to $ 399 per month for 60 journeys.

But outside testing new business models, he said, the company considers both the & # 39; Ditch Your Car & # 39; as a subscription program & # 39; s as a means to help realize greater efficiency about the transport system. The company stated a goal to create half of all attractions shared by 2020, and recent design changes in the Lyft app have more striking shared ride options. Currently, 35 percent of the Lyft trips are shared, according to Kapoor.

Although vehicle sales remain robust and transportation services make up a fraction of the total vehicle miles traveled, any attempt to improve traditional business models can come with concern from car manufacturers and dealers. Although revenue streams may change, Kapoor said that this does not necessarily mean that those groups are left behind if a dramatic shift in transport habits would continue.

"That does not mean mobility providers and Detroit can not do it, it's just a major change," he said. "It's about use, how can you make a great business with the use? You see this with Netflix and Spotify and it's coming to transport now, this is the moment for Detroit to be agile."