Starting today in select cities, Lyft is launching its upfront price estimation tool for all of its ride types. That means that when you enter your destination, the app will display the fare you can expect to pay. Previously, this was only available for Lyft Line rides. The feature is initially available in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Nashville, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Phoenix, but additional cities are planned in “the coming months.”
The goal of the upfront pricing tool is to prevent surprises when you get out of the car. Now, Lyft will show you the total fare, including all fees, taxes, tolls, promotions, and any surge (Prime Time) pricing. Should you deviate your route or need to extend your trip, the app will automatically update its calculation based on the time and distance.
This feature is useful for riders and brings Lyft in line with competitor Uber, which has had this feature since June and incorporated it into its most recent app redesign. However, there are allegations that the feature isn’t working as one might hope — some report that passengers are being overcharged, while drivers are getting short-changed.
Uber defended itself by telling Fortune: “With upfront fares, riders agree to a fare that’s calculated in advance, while drivers get paid based on a per-mile, per-minute rate as is normal with UberX. Because no predictive model is 100 percent perfect, what riders pay and drivers earn on a trip may differ slightly from time to time.”
Lyft expressed similar sentiments in a statement:
“We’re trying to create the best possible experience for passengers and drivers,” said a Lyft spokesperson. “For passengers that means giving them the certainty of the final price upfront. For drivers that means the certainty that they’ll be paid based on the time and distance they actually drive. There will be cases where the two don’t align perfectly, but we’ll be watching closely and making adjustments and improvements to get this right.”