Friends with Transit: Lyft’s Role in Supporting Transit

Ruth Miller
Sharing the Ride with Lyft
4 min readJul 19, 2019


In cities across the U.S., we’re showing public transit routes and schedules in the Lyft app to help people get where they’re going. We couldn’t be prouder to show major transit providers like the Washington Metropolitan Transportation Authority (WMATA), the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), and other transportation partners alongside Lyft’s ridesharing, Shared rides, bikeshare, and scooters.

Showing transit in the Lyft app is the most recent part of our company’s mission of improving people’s lives with the world’s best transportation, because transit has always been a central part of ending car ownership.

Public Transit is an Essential Component of Urban Mobility

High quality transit is the foundation of urban mobility because it is as irrefutable as geometry. Consider the San Francisco Bay Area where our regional train, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), can carry up to 28,000 people an hour between San Francisco and Oakland under the bay. That is nearly twice that of private cars on the Bay Bridge, which currently average only 1.7 passengers per vehicle (something we’re also working to change through our Shared Rides offerings).

As cities continue to grow, transit can and should continue to serve as the backbone of the transportation system. We are excited to help play a role in getting more people in cities riding transit. Lyft is working to make transit better in a variety of ways.

  • Seamless multimodal travel. We’re designing the Lyft app to help people easily understand how public transit can fit into their trip planning needs.
  • Smart transit policy. We are a champion for increased investment in transit to support high-quality service and street designs that prioritize dedicated transit travel lanes.
  • Better transit service delivery. Through our partnerships with 50+ transit agencies, we’re working together to fill gaps in local transportation networks and improve. suburban, paratransit, and first-last mile services.

The New Lyft Transit Experience

As people who regularly take transit, we know the most common question for riders is “when will my bus arrive?” To answer this question, all Lyft users in D.C. and Chicago, and select users in Boston, Seattle, Los Angeles, Denver, and New York City, now see a transit icon on their home screen. Tap through to see nearby transit stops and their nearest real-time departure, along with walking instructions to get there. All together, we’re offering real time departure information for transit agencies that collectively provide 78% of daily transit trips in the United States!

For people who are deciding how they want to get somewhere (that isn’t in a private car!), we are also including information about how transit can get you where you need to go. We’ve worked closely with local transit agencies to display routes and fare prices. With this information in the Lyft app, riders can compare routes, arrival times, and costs across multiple modes such as transit, ridesharing, bikes, and scooters. In D.C. and Chicago we’re now showing routes for agencies that together provide over 3.5 million weekday boardings.

Next Stop

Public transit has been core to our vision for cities since our earliest days. In fact, our CEO and co-founder Logan Green actually served as the youngest-ever board member for the transit board in his college town. As a company focused on replacing personal car ownership with seamless multimodal transportation, we know the importance of making it easy to consider transit for a variety of trips. We’re designing our app to help compare transit alongside all of your available options for three reasons.

  1. Transit can be the fastest option for our riders. We want our riders to get to their destination as quickly as possible, and, especially with trains and dedicated bus lanes, sometimes transit can be faster than calling a car.
  2. Transit can be the most affordable option, too. We know that cost is a huge factor in people’s transportation decision-making process, so we want them to be able to compare prices across different options.
  3. Lyft can expand transit’s reach. A train might get you most of the way, but maybe you’ll need a Lyft to get you the last few miles. When transit and Lyft’s ridesharing, bikes, and scooters can cover different legs of a trip together, riders have more options to get to their destination.

Including transit as one of many transportation options in the Lyft app is just one more step towards our vision of a multimodal ecosystem that can provide a true alternative to car ownership and driving alone. We look forward to continuing to expand our transit experience in more cities soon.