Lyft is growing up.
Today, the ride-hailing company is dropping its iconic pink mustache in favor of a "smart Amp" that will match drivers to hailers through colored LED lights.
Co-founder John Zimmer said this was a long time coming. "The pink mustache was an amazing way to launch the brand. But it was only meant to be part of our launch for a few weeks or months. But it ended up lasting about two years. Now we're ready to take it to the next level," he said.
The next level is colorful, Bluetooth-enabled and can display personalized messages to riders.
Here's how it works. Instead of squinting through traffic to look for a license plate that matches the one listed in your app — or awkwardly hop in the wrong car — the new Amp will display a certain color. Riders can tap a button in the Lyft app that will display the same color. Either look for the car with the corresponding color or hold your smartphone above your head like your own modern-day taxi light and let your driver find you.
Zimmer says the new Amp will allow Lyft to save riders and drivers those last few minutes and create a better in-car experience. But, he tells us, it'll eventually be much more than that. On the back of the device, there's another LED-screen that faces the driver and passenger. It can display personalized messages, like "Welcome Deirdre" or "Go Leafs Go" (which would delight this Canuck).
"Think of it like a platform," Zimmer says. "First, safety and ease of use. Then [it can be used] for different holidays and events in your personal life. From there, it's the first time you have this in-app device that can be connected and we can change at any time."