Many of us take apps such as Lyft or Uber for granted. Open the app, select a pickup, payment method and send the request and voila, your ride arrives. But what if you don’t own a smartphone? What about if you left your phone at home or the battery died. Can you still use Lyft without a smartphone?
Yes you can. After a fashion.
Lyft was launched three years after Uber and doesn’t quite have the same profile but is still immensely popular. Both services and others like them have changed the way we move around our cities and have challenged the monopoly taxis have had for over a hundred years. I see that as a good thing even if taxi drivers don’t. Competition improves the experience and I’m always in favor of that.
Lyft works in a very similar manner to Uber. You download the app, set up an account, request a pickup point and a destination, watch your car and driver approach and enjoy your ride. Payment is electronic so there is no need to fumble around for cash or worry about a tip and you can get in and out and be on your way. It’s the new way of getting around.
Both Lyft and Uber rely on their smartphone apps to use. You can use these services without a smartphone if you need to though. Uber uses a simple mobile website accessible from a not-so smartphone at m.uber.com. Lyft will accept ride requests from a browser which makes it more accessible.
Request a Lyft from your browser
You can request a Lyft using any browser with the exception of Shared and Lux services. Standard Lyft services are fine. The process is very similar to the app but you will manually have to verify your phone number and pay through the browser.
If you already have a Lyft account associated with your phone number, you will be logged in after entering it. If you don’t have an account linked to that number, you will need to enter an SMS code to verify it.
- Visit http://ride.lyft.com in your browser.
- Enter your phone number in the box and wait for the SMS code.
- Enter the code into the box on the website.
- Request a pickup, set a destination and payment method.
The process after SMS verification is almost identical to using the app. You set a pickup location, set a destination, set a payment method and await your ride. If your location doesn’t appear properly on the pickup map, make sure you have location services enabled in the browser. If you don’t want to do that, manually enter a pickup address and go from there. You can also track the driver through the browser in the same way you would using the app.
Use a third party service to request a Lyft
If wanting to request a Lyft is more about not being comfortable using a smartphone or if you have difficulties using one, there are alternatives. Services such as GoGoGrandparent offer an alternative to using a phone while offering the same benefits to quality of life.
These are called Concierge services and Lyft allows anyone to set themselves up as one. Companies such as JetBlue and GoGoGrandparent offer this kind of service.
JetBlue offers Lyfts to customers at either end of some flights in some cities to provide a full end to end service. Other companies are beginning to offer similar services in different regions.
GoGoGrandparent uses humans at the end of a normal phone to act as intermediaries. You call their number and request a ride and they use the Uber app to make it happen. They charge a fee of course, currently $0.27 per minute. This is billed for the time on the call, not the time in the car. The other fees are identical to Lyft so won’t cost you any more than using the app would.
Concierge services are a neat idea that can be useful in different situations. JetBlue offers more customer comfort, GoGoGrandparent enables older users to access services without a smartphone and other companies are getting in on the action too. Opportunities include patient transport, the transportation of minors, pickup and drop off for cruises and all kinds of ideas.
While Lyft and Uber are predominantly smartphone services, that isn’t not the only way to get a ride. With more of these concierge services opening up across the country, the app will eventually be one of many ways to get around!