Lyft's fuzzy pink mustaches were an effective marketing tool in the early days of
Now the company is turning the ornament, which had migrated from car hoods to driver dashboards, into a useful piece of hardware for connecting drivers and passengers.
In Lyft's top 60 markets, some drivers are using a digital device called Amp that's designed to be "the foundation of a new in-car experience for Lyft riders," said Ethan Eyler, Lyft's director of ride experience, in an interview.
Amp, a two-way communications tool 18 months in the making, is set for wider release later this year, said Eyler, who oversaw the latest redesign and invented the original mustache in 2010, even before he joined Lyft.
The new pill-shaped gadget has a screen that outwardly projects one of seven colors. Passengers know it's their car if it matches the color on their app.
Amp is already improving pickup times and reducing cancellation rates and, if it works as planned, could help Lyft close the gap with Uber.
While Lyft has grown steadily in the last five years and is valued in private markets at $7.5 billion, the San Francisco-based company has been overshadowed by crosstown rival Uber, which is valued at $69 billion.