Lyft wants to pay users to give up their car

Lyft co-founder and President John Zimmer talks new 'Ditch Your Car' initiative, plus the future of autonomous vehicles and potential company IPO, with ABC News' Rebecca Jarvis.
8:26 | 09/26/18

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Transcript for Lyft wants to pay users to give up their car
I'm Rebecca Jarvis for ABC news in new York and today and the ride sharing service lift. I noticed an anomaly in new measure. They're offering users the opportunity to ditch their cars in exchanged for a lift credits and credits to use public transportation. Would you give up you work hard teens in exchange for that. While I sat down with lift co-founder and president John Zimmer to discuss your gonna pay people not to drive their own cars yeah. House back at work. So if you zoom out the transportation system that we have in this country we believe is broken. It cost the average American over 101000 dollars a year to own and operate their car. And there's not a great option. Or alternative that provides all your transportation. Senate. Ditch your car initiative is going to about 2000 people they're gonna I across 35 cities in the United States. We formed partnership with public transit agencies to offer public transit credits might credits and that lift credits as well as a car we're also gonna send him a lock box so you can take your car keys. Put him in a lockbox for a month and use the credits that will fully replace the costs you of your car Dorgan I C at the end of it. How people feel that it wanna stay on that popular go back to their car and so there's a big opportunity I think to help people. Make that mental shift away from what they've been doing for really long time. And that's it here how many people do you think we'll ultimately ditch their car actually last year 250000. Lift to users. Got rid of one of their vehicles so this yeah I would expect that number is higher because we've grown our business. And we've grown the number of options that people can shoes. You as well as lumber are in a place right now where you're not young companies anymore and the roads are crowded what is your vision five years from. How different is commute time going to be how different is the user experience. Out on the roads got a lot. Our vision is that you subscribe to a list plan dissimilar way that you it dad amend its plan on your phone. And that plan is more affordable than the 101000 dollars you pay to own and operate a carburetor so let's say the average American hostile save thousands of dollars. You have a alternatives like public transit like bikes and scooters as well as lift rides. And that'll be the main way people get around this idea of getting car keys on your sixteenth birthday I think is going to change. Can make some pupils and John. By that I had finally I got car keys on my sixteenth birthday I didn't get a car and that I looked forward to that it was an important part of growing up I think that's. Fair and I think that what the car has represented for America is this idea of freedom freedom to move freedom to get where wanna go free and degree of my friends. But I would argue that the reality of what the car has delivered or is delivering now is what you said it's its traffic. It's it's expensive not everyone can afford it and so for those that it makes sense for who want to provide an alternative. And to me that that is ability to deliver true transportation freedom at a lower cost that is more enjoyable. A lot of people are spending times on their phones there's a safety component here to. As more people is more distracted driving is happening. Having people with safe alternatives is is a great option. Do you see fewer lift cars do you see some of those drivers ditching. They're parks so we've made car ownership optional actually for both the driver and passenger. We have a rental program so some drivers can afford a car but they needed job opportunities we created a rental program but there will be cars on the road I'm not saying that. Cars are horrible and all instances. I'm just saying that it's not the only way. And owning a car when you use it only 4% at a time just doesn't make sense. And so we need to provide people with more options we need to and other cities around people and not cars. And I think that. If you look at the majority of miles 95% of it as people driving alone yes that can be enjoyable and some moments. But I think the majority the reason why this happening is because it's the most convenient way to get around it's the most reliable it around and we're gonna change. You just hit a billion rides with left. Six years into the business over in July hit ten million rides they've been around a little longer than you but not have much. Why do you think it is that they got such faster growth than you. CI as you said they they started before us but were growing much faster than them. In some cases we've reported ever growing twice as fast as them we're taking market share. And it's because we're investing in the customers in the people behind her business. And analysts see where things iron and another year to. There's also been a lot of talk about driver was cars are we get a C a world five years from now where people are not behind the wheel of the cars on the road. I believe it's part of the solution just as I said bikes lift riots. Public transit a tireless vehicles it's part of a way of giving people an alternative what is now a 101000 dollar a year problem. And so yes in five years you will see a tireless vehicles and ears out so that people aren't driving their cars out there not everyone but yes in a significant way in major US beliefs. How about flying cars. I call those helicopters and and I'm that but focused on ground transportation. So lift as an interest in playing overcame getting into flying tax it's not not right now I think get as that technology and develops and advances and is safe and if that's what our customers want and we're gonna offer that as one alternative we want lift to beat that. Place you come to to trust that you'll get a safe fried a reliable or ride and arrived at the lowest cost if there are other ways of Denny from point a to B we'll look at it. Right now where we're stand on the ground. You've talked about the bike business at these scooter business both areas that left has gotten entail. How far away are we from seeing in the United States cities that have more scooters on the road and cars I thought his. Maybe and I'm bikes. Bikes have been around for a lot longer thinks scooters is new where we're launching cities this scooters were excited about it. Illicit bikes and scooters I'd say we're several years off from that and one of the problems is that we haven't built infrastructure for pikes. We've built infrastructure for cars. 60% of major cities like LA New York they're paved over with roads and parking spots. And then you try to ride a bike in these cities and there's often not a protected by clan. And that's not. That's not fair that's not right we need to design cities that that create safe places for. I screw us for pedestrians and for drivers and not put them all in the same place and so that's what I'm excited about when we provide these alternatives. And work with cities that we can redesign them around people living in instead of the cars. Parked in them we've seen a lot of CEO was way and on political conversations recently. What do you think the role of the CEO is right now in the United States should people in a role like yours would be entering into the political debate. I don't think a role as a leader in a company is to be political. But I do think standing up for values as important as an American citizen as someone who has impact on the people we serve. At times we have to speak out. And I think that in today's times there are moments where that is appropriate do you want to be a public company eventually it's not be. Goal of life as a business it's a step on the journey what we want to do is is make our cities better places to live it. That's the most important hospitality experience we want to do is save people money. We want to do is bring people together to have you know a Democrat Republican sitting in a car for ten minutes meeting some of from a different background. That's what we wanted it. And part of that is building a large business so that we can impact the most people. One of the steps along -- the way may be going public. But it's not the and I'll peel. How far away are you from going public I don't done don't have any information mr. Hoover told me they might be public by this time next year with that. Would that create any fire for you know we're gonna do what's right for left and we're gonna go public at the time that I were ready but it's something that is. On the horizon eventually. It's it's sound and Natalie think will happen one day. I'm Rebecca Jarvis in new York and you're watching ABC news flat.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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