Amtrak partners with Lyft to hail rides
Amtrak, the government-owned rail service that carried 31.3 million passengers last year, updated its mobile app to let customers hail a ride from Lyft. New users of Lyft will receive $5 off each of their first four rides by using the promo code AMTRAKLYFT, according to a press release.
Lyft’s service can reach 80% of the U.S. population and overlaps with 97% Amtrak riders. The partnership offers a seamless end-to-end travel experience to and from an Amtrak station, the statement said.
Lyft on Monday began testing a ride-hailing service at Walt Disney World in Orlando. The Minnie Van fleet has 27 vehicles decorated with polka-dots and mouse ears to resemble the Disney character Minnie Mouse. Resort guests can summon the vehicles from the regular Lyft app on their smartphones, the Orlando Sentinel reported. The service costs $20 a trip.
Lyft’s partnership with Amtrak is the latest effort by the ride-hailing provider to complement the service of a major brand. In addition to testing out in-resort transit at Walt Disney World, Lyft also began an experiment with Taco Bell to provide late-night stops at the fast-food chain’s drive-through window. As ride-hailing pioneer Uber gets bogged down in internal struggles, lawsuits and the search for new executive leadership, Lyft is pushing forward into new markets and services. Lyft is currently growing at a faster clip that Uber, which still have the larger user base overall.
The Amtrak partnership has the potential to showcase how Lyft can work with other transportation companies to provide service for the first and last mile. Many transit hubs have well established taxi services nearby, but ride-sharing apps are able to provide customers with greater peace of mind when they can make arrangements for a car service in advance.
Lyft also recently announced the creation of a self-driving team, suggesting it it is serious about trying to overtake Uber in the ride-hailing space.
Amtrak needs to find ways to make its service more convenient to customers as the government-subsidized rail service faces commuter complaints for service reductions. The passenger railroad last month began a rebuilding program at New York’s Pennsylvania Station that has hampered service along the Northeast Corridor and for the Long Island Railroad. Amtrak faces proposals to cut long-distance rail service and is trying to secure funding for its rebuilding programs, including the $27 billion Project Gateway.
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