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Lately I’ve been working on a few coding projects. A little Javascript here and there. I built a “ride estimator” for the support team at Lyft. We found ourselves using a really cumbersome google doc to estimate prices for potential rides, especially now that we’re open in at least 60 cities. We wind up doing this sort of thing at least a few times a day (10+). With the old system we used to have to open 3 separate windows: the google spreadsheet, google maps, and the ride information itself. The formulae in the google doc were unprotected for some reason, meaning people would regularly, unwittingly overwrite the formula and someone would have to go hunt the actual formula down. It was also a pain to update all these formulae by hand.

I hunkered down and built a little ride estimator in Javascript (served by a NodeJS Express server) that utilizes the google maps API to to grab directions. So you can put in the start and end points of the ride and it automatically spits out the nearest region where Lyft is and estimates the ride for you. Additionally it lets you know if you’re outside of the coverage area or the ride is too long. This streamlined the workflow and cut the time it takes by at least 1/3 saving Support an estimated 10 hours of time a week.

As a bonus it’s tailored to take elements of the beautiful new redesign of the Lyft website. Oh, you’d like to go from Oakland, CA to San Francisco, CA? Here’s about what that would cost: