Lyft joins the 20th century with innovative embrace of the telephone

Users can now call to get a ride. You know, like a taxi

Those disruptors in Silicon Valley are at it again. This time it's Lyft, the ride-sharing juggernaut, announcing a major innovation. Lyft will now make its service available to those without the company's app. Instead, users will be able to place a phone call to a dedicated number and speak in real-time with a Lyft agent to request a ride. Lyft dubs its new service Call a Lyft Ride.

The telephone, a telecommunications device pioneered recently (in geologic terms) by Alexander Graham Bell, is an innovation that allows Lyft to reach new users hesitant or unable to use the company's normal smartphone-based app services. Specifically, it's meant to attract senior citizens, so it's probably not a coincidence that the new initiative is starting in 38 Florida cities starting today.

The service is available from 8 am to 8 pm, Monday through Friday. Here's how it works. The rider — or a loved one acting on their behalf — dials 631-201-LYFT (5938) and speaks to a live agent. The agent quotes a price for the ride, and the caller pays over the phone with a credit card. Information about the ride can be sent to the customer via text. The vehicle is dispatched to the location and takes the rider wherever they need to go, be it to a doctor's appointment, to the hairdresser or wherever. How any of that is easier than "Call taxi company, give taxi driver cash" is a question we feel might be asked by your smartphone-averse grandmother in Boca Raton.

Nevertheless, it seems likely that the service may become available in other locations should the idea catch on. So far, though, Lyft isn't saying what its plans for expansion are.

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