The impact the coronavirus on America's ingrained car culture was immediate and profound.
For Lyft, it meant a dramatic dip in requests for rides as people sheltered in place. And because others weren't driving to work like usual, fewer accidents meant plenty of savings for insurance companies.
Gary Hallgren, who runs Arity, Allstate's transportation analytics arm, saw it in the data.
"Driving really just fell off a cliff in the middle of March as you would expect," he said on a Business Insider webinar with Angie Westbrock, Lyft's vice president of operations, on Thursday. For Lyft, it meant not only less revenue, but also a lack of work for the drivers on its app. That's why the company began to flirt with delivery options for its workers to bring essential supplies and food to communities in need.
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It appears they were thinking the same thing Uber was with looking into food delivery options. In the moment, it seems like a smart move but this virus won't be around forever.
It is no surprise there was not a need or desire for drivers as places were closed and people were told not to go anywhere other than to the store, hospital, or park (in some states anyways).
I keep hearing about the virus not being as bad as they thought and that it is likely to pick back up with spreading once everything goes back to normal so there really is no telling when it will die off. I mean, to me, it would be best to just get every healthy adult exposed to it so they can recover and not spread it to older folks and those susceptible. The way it was handled was stupid imo.
For Lyft, it meant a dramatic dip in requests for rides as people sheltered in place. And because others weren’t driving to work like usual, fewer accidents meant plenty of savings for insurance companies.
No doubt there will be changes," Westbrock said. "We do think there is going to be some impactful trends around consumer behavior, maybe choosing to avoid public transit in favor of rideshare or bikes and scooters. We're here and know we'll play an increasingly important role on the other side of this. I'm very optimistic looking forward. Even with fewer people on buses and trains, traffic could still go down if they realize working from home is a viable options. Hallgren, for instance, used to commute every single week from Southern California to Chicago.
“In some methods I did not understand how a lot the journey was beating me down,” he stated. “Now after this individuals could notice working from residence is definitely working.”
And regardless of the gap, Westbrock stated she was connecting with coworkers on a brand new stage.
“I’ve had dinner with my household each single night time for final couple of months and I am unable to say that was the case earlier than,” she stated. “My daughter is aware of she will are available in and peek in and see me at any time when she desires. This has modified the etiquette of what’s acceptable. My total staff is aware of my youngsters now, they know [she’s] going to ask for Oreo’s and it is all okay. It is actually introduced this reminder of what really issues and what we worth and has made us rethink how demanding all of our lives are.”
Like many businesses, ride-hailing companies are dealing with the many challenges brought on by the global pandemic, and adapting their operating models to a new normal.
Both said driving volumes had plummeted, but for Lyft it meant less business and for Allstate it meant saving money and returning it to customers.Going forward, they’re anticipating a new normal and more time spent working from home and with family. Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.