Lyft Says Cars Are the Cozy Way Around Town

The supposedly anti-car company Lyft seems to be very pro-automobile in this new subway ad. Photo: David Meyer
The supposedly anti-car company Lyft seems to be very pro-automobile in this new subway ad. Photo: David Meyer

The weather is turning a little cooler, so why not put on a sweater — or a car?

That’s the message being sent by Lyft, the supposedly anti-auto transportation company, with a new subway ad designed, it seems, to piss of pedestrians, cyclists and especially long-suffering transit riders.

“They say to dress in layers,” the ad reads. “It’s okay if one of those layers is a car.”

First of all, it’s not ok. Cars are responsible for a disproportionate share of greenhouse gases, most of the congestion and virtually all of the deaths on American roadways.

Second of all, the “be comfortable this winter by wearing a car” message is counter to Lyft’s frequent rebranding effort designed to convince the public it intends to play a role in reducing private car ownership in American cities — a novel twist on Vision Zero that still leaves plenty of cars on the road, but with companies like Lyft operating them.

Nonetheless, company co-founder Zimmer famously predicted two years ago that cities would be car free (except for cabs like Lyft!) by 2025.

“By 2025, owning a car will go the way of the DVD,” Zimmer posted on Medium under the headline, “The Third Transportation Revolution.”

Well, that revolution will not be teleported. So until the day when automated vehicles eliminate the instinct towards wasteful private ownership of cars, there’s always Lyft’s fuel-burning, road-clogging, bike-lane-blocking service, the ad is saying. Indeed, instead of appealing to New York subway riders to give up the vehicles they’re not using anyway, Lyft is sticking with the car-culture status quo.

We reached out to Lyft and its ad firm Wieden Kennedy, but did not get an immediate response.

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