If you hadn’t heard already, Lyft has had a great year. In fact, Lyft has had a great couple of years.
Between 2015 and 2016, the ridesharing company saw national ridership nearly triple, and by the first half of 2017, Lyft had already given more rides than it had in all of 2016. Since the beginning of the year, it has launched in over 150 new cities, and over the summer the company announced that it is now providing more than a million rides per day nationwide.
The D.C. market is no exception to this trend. Just in the first quarter of this year, Lyft grew in the D.C. region by 60 percent and the number of drivers grew by 40 percent, according to the company (It does not disclose exact numbers). In addition, Lyft is gaining market share on its competitor, Uber. Earlier this fall, WAMU reported that Lyft was growing more quickly than Uber with 18 percent growth versus Uber’s 11 percent. So, where is this growth coming from?
Of course, in part the growth has come organically from the #DeleteUber campaign that spread earlier this year after Uber was accused of trying to undermine a driver strike prompted by President Trump’s immigration orders. (Lyft’s head of product Taggart Matthiesen confirmed to Recode that the company experienced a 60 percent increase in downloads after the campaign started trending.)
But all of this aside, Lyft has also been putting in the work in order to grow here in the District.
Stephen Taylor, the regional manager for Lyft’s D.C. office, says that since he joined Lyft two and a half years ago, the office has taken steps to build their already above-average driver satisfaction, like setting up a Hub for the local Lyft driver community. At the Hub, drivers can receive in-person support, talk through any driver issues they encounter, and receive new driver mentoring. The company has also implemented a car rental program for drivers.
The regional office has also focused on building partnerships with D.C. government and transit agencies. An example: this year, Lyft’s D.C. office worked with the D.C. Department of Transportation and the Golden Triangle Business Improvement District to clear parking spots downtown to create more space for safe passenger pick-up between the hours of 10pm and 1am Thursdays through Fridays.
Lyft is also in conversations with WMATA about setting up designated pick-up spots at metro stations, where Taylor says 26 percent of Lyft rides either begin or end. And the company is also working to partner with local live-work developments to provide special discounts to residents and employees. In addition, the company has also introduced Lyft Lux, an elevated, luxury rideshare option.
“I’m tremendously optimistic about our growth in the region,” Taylor said. “We have incredible drivers and passengers that make up the Lyft community, and we’re providing a mobility option that complements a region that is strong in transit and is full of walkable, bikable neighborhoods.”
The company is also growing by contributing to the community.
Taylor reported that the company is supporting local business by partnering with Think Local First, a nonprofit that supports small businesses.
Lyft also honors the most frequently-visited local bars and restaurants with their annual Lyftie Awards. This year, Nellie’s Sports Bar and Busboys and Poets won the bar and restaurant categories, respectively.
And they are working to grow participation in Lyft’s national programs like Round Up & Donate, a feature that lets passengers donate to nonprofits and charities.
That brings us to the most recent way that Lyft is giving back to the community: starting Thursday at 3 p.m. through Sunday, December 17, Lyft users have the option to choose “Merry Mode.”
SO proud/excited/exhausted to reveal @lyft #DC #MerryMode! Now thru Sunday, you can take a ride in an ugly holiday sweater & sing your heart out with carol karaoke. All proceeds benefit @MarthasTableorg! pic.twitter.com/Qd3upyf1Ql
— Kate Glantz (@KateGlantz) December 14, 2017
When passengers request a “Merry Mode” ride, they will be picked up in a car decked out in an ugly sweater and holiday decor. Inside, passengers will be able to get into the holiday spirit with karaoke carols.
The company will donate all proceeds to Martha’s Table, a DC-based nonprofit that provides healthy food, affordable clothing, and quality education to DC residents.
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