Lyft said Monday that its riders will now be able to program multistop journeys and remove stops mid-ride if plans change.
Riders will no longer have to "hack" the system by manually updating their end destination before the first drop off, a workaround passengers have turned to so people sharing a ride can be dropped at different destinations. The program begins rolling out today, the company said.
The goal for Lyft is to streamline routes for passengers and drivers and make the whole system run more efficiently. Greater efficiency means more rides and more fees for Lyft, which takes a commission of up to 25 percent from each ride.
It is a feature that Lyft hopes will give it an edge over rival Uber. With all the data Lyft and other ride-sharing platforms — including Uber, Grab and Didi Chuxing — are gathering, each will continue to add more features that leverage those data troves to make operations run more smoothly and lure more customers.
A Lyft spokesman said that 90 percent of regular rides have a destination entered at the outset. Five percent of the time — which equates to hundreds of thousands of rides every month — a passenger will then update the destination mid-ride to get the driver to make a second stop. This undermines the efficiency of Lyft's algorithm by making driver's routes less predictable.
The most popular times for a passenger to change their destination are Friday and Saturday nights between midnight and 3 a.m., presumably when folks are heading home from a night out, the spokesman said.
Lyft's latest funding round announced in January was $1 billion, including an investment from GM, giving the company a post-money valuation of $5.5 billion.