Travelling in the US? Get a Lyft via Grab app

Grab product head Joel Yarborough said the integration of services with Lyft allows users to use an experience they are familiar with.
Grab product head Joel Yarborough said the integration of services with Lyft allows users to use an experience they are familiar with.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

From today, Grab users who travel to the United States will be able to book a ride from US ride-hailing service Lyft in 200 cities across the country, right from their Grab app.

They will be able to book rides on Lyft and the six-seater Lyft plus services once they arrive in cities such as Seattle, where the Singapore-based Grab opened an engineering centre in January this year.

"What is important to us is that people use the experience they're familiar with and that they trust when they travel," said Grab product head Joel Yarborough.

Lyft's head of international product Kristina Gibson said: "Our goal is to provide passengers with a seamless experience."

However, Grab users will not be able to pay by cash when using Lyft and can use only credit or debit cards linked to their accounts or by mobile wallet app Alipay.

"They will be prompted to add a cashless option," said Mr Yarborough.

On the flip side, Lyft users are currently unable to book rides from Grabcar and Grabtaxi when in Southeast Asia and a Grab spokesman would only say that this service would be available in the "coming weeks".

The two services, together with China's Didi and India's Ola, announced a global ridesharing partnership last December, with the eventual aim of tapping each other's services through their own apps.

In April, Didi announced that its users would be able to book Lyft rides in the US through the Didi app, the first integration of services under the partnership.

Through the integration of services with the San Francisco-based Lyft, Grab hopes to profit from the increasing number of travellers from the US to the region, who spent more than $231.6 billion in the Asia-Pacific last year.

"This is a huge potential opportunity for both Grab and Lyft to tap into, " said Grab's vice-president of engineering Arul Kumaravel.

Zhaki Abdullah

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 02, 2016, with the headline 'Travelling in the US? Get a Lyft via Grab app'. Print Edition | Subscribe