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Lyft challenges Chicago residents to dump their cars for free rides

The first 100 car owners to sign up will receive $550 in credits.
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ANGELA WEISS via Getty Images

Today, Lyft announced a new program called Ditch With Lyft. The ridesharing company is encouraging Chicago's car owners to stop driving their cars for a month and switch instead to using public transportation and services such as Lyft, Zipcar and Divvy Bike. To accomplish this, they will give participants a total of $550 in credit for these services.

The challenge is only open to the first 100 people who sign up, and runs from August 1st to August 31st. Participants will receive $300 in Lyft credit (for shared rides only), $45 for Divvy Bike, $100 credit to Zipcar and a monthly pass for the "L" train and Chicago buses worth $105.

The aim of the program is to make it clear that urban dwellers have transportation options other than car ownership. According to Lyft, Chicago's denizens spend almost $13,000 per year on car ownership costs, yet only actually use their car 5 percent of the time. Those who sign up will need to prove they own a car.

It's certainly an interesting way to highlight the costs of owning a car (insurance, fuel, inspection, parking, repairs and more). As more and more people in urban areas are choosing not to buy cars, a move like this could convince people to get rid of the cars they already have.

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