Sometimes, in the exciting, disruptive world of Silicon Valley, tech’s hottest innovators doing their best to reinvent the way we live life don’t realise that the incredible new features they’re putting in their apps actually already exist, and have existed for decades.
Take the exciting new feature from Uber rival Lyft: literally just a bus. That’s all it is.
Lyft Shuttle is the exciting new feature for people who don’t want to pay the full price for a taxi, or a rideshare, or a reduced-rate ride like UberPOOL. It’s a shuttle service, operating only in San Francisco right now, which users can book through their app, but only stops at pre-designated points along a set route. Many people would describe this service as a ‘bus’.
The Lyft site describes how users can “find their route,” then “walk to your pickup stop,” then “ride along the designated route” and, finally, “walk to your destination.” If your local bus company provided those instructions on how to use a bus, they would be held up as a harbinger for the death of civilisation via stupidity.
Nothing wrong with the idea of some privately operated commuter buses but it’s genuinely hilarious that this is presented as innovative. pic.twitter.com/aWk7AFMqpL
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) June 19, 2017
Take this excerpt from the Lifehacker review of the service:
Lyft Shuttle addresses both those issues by having you walk to a nearby pick up spot, get in a shared car that follows a pre-designated route, and drops you (and everyone else) off at the same stop. So, basically, you share a ride with other people (most of the time) so your ride price is lower, but you know exactly how long the ride will take because you’re on a pre-designated route.
Drawbacks: the shuttle service is only available during commute hours and you’re only picked up and dropped off in certain spots. That said, the routes currently offered (shown in the map below) go to most neighbourhoods that I visit and I live in downtown San Francisco so there are plenty of stops near me. If you have a similar situation if and when Lyft Shuttle comes to your city, this is a convenient—and more affordable—alternative.?
My dude, you just reviewed the bus.
People have very much noticed this:
This concept seems so familiar but I just can’t put my finger on YES I CAN IT’S A BUS YOU’VE INVENTED A BUS https://t.co/lROGYMjwFg
— Drave????Moonrascal (@DoctorAvenue) June 19, 2017
The crazy thing is that regular buses don’t actually require apps. You can kind of just get on them when they stop at your stop. That’s right folks – an app so advanced that you don’t even need to open the app to use it. This is the kind of innovation investors would kill for.
Of course, there’s the more insidious side to this in that this is a kind of gentrified bus which most likely would not be used by low-income residents. You won’t find that on their website, but it does seem like the driving motivation behind many ‘innovations’ which just look like rich person versions of things poor people have used for eons.
Pretty wild ad for Lyft’s shuttle. pic.twitter.com/gpCXe0pbla
— Ethan Chiel (@ethanchiel) June 19, 2017
Thank you for your service, app creators.
Photo: Getty Images.