Lyft today said it was adding an option to its ride-hailing app that lowers fares by 10 percent to 50 percent during periods of lower demand.
It calls the program “Happy Hour,” and it’s basically the inverse of “Prime Time,” an initiative that raises fares during periods of higher demand.
The move is in keeping with the arms race in ride sharing, where Uber has used some of its hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to try to push Lyft down in the market by lowering fares.
Lyft itself just raised a bunch of funding, so it’s time to up the stakes.
Happy Hour is a move to generate goodwill for Lyft, especially in contrast to the famous unpopularity of Uber’s surge pricing, where it raises fares to try to balance supply and demand. Lyft called the move “the newest way to enjoy the friendliest ride at an even friendlier price.”
Meanwhile, Lyft and others are facing a new hurdle in Seattle, where the city council yesterday approved a law that will cap each such service at 150 drivers on the road, making it harder for them to meet rider demand.
Lyft said it plans to keep operating in Seattle, saying, “These caps have no bearing on public safety, and the motivation behind these measures was planned behind closed doors.”