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Lyft Is Letting Customers Round Up Their Tabs, Donating The Difference To Causes Of Their Choice

by Penn Collins

March 27, 2017

Lyft, long considered the also-ran in the first wave of ride sharing companies, has long positioned itself as the company that cares—in opposition to Uber’s reputation as the “ruthless corporation.” With Uber reeling from too many public relations struggles to list (but here’s a piece that does just that), Lyft is doubling down on its “good guy” image with another tactic to appeal to the humanity of its customer base. 

The new feature, available in about two weeks, is listed as “Round Up & Donate” among the app’s settings. While you won’t get to choose the exact charity your donation with benefit, you will get to pick the cause, such as the environment, LGBTQ rights, and social issues facing veterans. 

Here’s what the menu screen looks like: 

Lyft

It merits noting that the opt in and opt out is done on an account basis, not on a per-ride basis. So selecting the option once means that all subsequent rides will round up to the nearest dollar and donate the difference until toggling that setting on one’s account. 

In a statement, the company said, "Lyft is a values-driven company, and we deeply believe in participation. Round Up & Donate is a program that makes it easy to participate in a meaningful way by allowing people to give back to the causes they care about within our communities."

While such programs have launched before at brick and mortar stores, cashless models such as Lyft’s may find far more success in soliciting donations, if only because they make the ability to donate every ride so convenient—thoughtless even—that many who find themselves generous enough to opt in may continue to give long after they have forgotten about the program. 

This act is just the latest attempt by the ride-sharing company to link itself to various social issues, with the company donating $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union immediately after the Trump administration’s travel ban.

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