Lyft's Shared rides are back and here's what to know about the feature's updates.

Lyft Is Bringing Back Shared Rides With Some Major Updates

You can schedule your ride up to 30 minutes ahead.

Courtesy of Lyft

You’ll be able to utilize Lyft’s cheapest ride feature again soon. After its absence for well over a year due to the pandemic, Lyft’s Shared rides are back with some major updates. The low-cost option is mutually beneficial for Lyft riders and drivers and the recent updates make the service even more convenient, including a new schedule-ahead feature and an end to surprise pickups.

More than a year after its Shared ride feature stopped in March 2020, Lyft announced the return of Shared rides starting on Monday, July 19, and now the feature boasts faster routes and cheaper rates. Lyft’s initial relaunch of Shared rides will happen in Philadelphia, Chicago, and Denver. As a refresher, Shared rides are generally cheaper than a regular Lyft ride since the driver picks up multiple riders who have different destinations but are headed in the same direction. It’s a nice option when surge pricing is high or when you don’t want to shell out for a solo Lyft ride. When you enter a Shared ride as the feature makes its return, here’s what changes you’ll see:

1. Shared Ride Scheduling

You can schedule a Shared ride to lock in a cheaper rate from Lyft before the price goes up. You can request it to arrive near you ASAP, within a 5- to 15-minute window, or a 15- to 30-minute timeframe.

2. More Efficient Routes

Riders can schedule a ride up to 30 minutes in advance. Booking ahead makes it a little cheaper, plus Lyft will match people headed in the same direction for the fastest route, making it even more efficient than before.

3. No More Surprise Rider Pickups

If you remember Lyft’s initial Shared rides, you probably experienced unexpected changes in the route or surprise stops to pick up other riders. Thankfully, Lyft is canceling surprise pickups for good, so you’ll know the route, the number of people who’ll be riding, and also get a more accurate estimated arrival time (ETA).

Courtesy of Lyft

4. Safety Updates For Shared Rides

Lyft has in-ride guidelines that include a mask requirement for all riders and drivers and a limit of two riders per car to ensure physical distancing. In addition, drivers are also required to keep the front and middle car seats empty. and no one is allowed to eat or drink during the ride.

The Shared ride feature isn’t relaunching everywhere as of July 19, but Lyft has plans to expand the feature to its other markets. Cities that previously had Shared rides — Austin, Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami, Nashville, New Jersey, New York, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. — should see it rolling out again in the coming months

When scheduling your Lyft rides to your desired destination, check Lyft’s COVID-19 policy and the CDC guidelines for the most updated health rules.