- Shortly after Lyft went public with its IPO on Friday, the company announced City Works, an initiative to support transportation initiatives in cities.
- Each year Lyft will invest $50 million or 1% of profits — whichever is larger — in the City Works program. The three main priorities are to provide free and reduced-price transportation to those who need it most, to develop transportation infrastructure that decreases inequity, and to create a clean energy future.
- Los Angeles is the first partner city for the program but the intention is to expand to other cities in which Lyft operates. An advisory council made up of local civic leaders and advocates will collaborate with Lyft employees on the best solutions for each city.
A large portion of this initiative centers on transportation equity and providing greater opportunities for underserved communities. Trying to even out access to services could be positive for Lyft, considering research indicates ride-hailing businesses are mostly used by passengers who are well educated and affluent.
Lyft will provide free and discounted rides to people who need it most — not just the populations of underserved residents themselves, but also the social services workers who help them. In this case, the rides go to the staff and communities of several of L.A.'s homelessness mitigation programs.
Lyft also will work with the city to expand transportation infrastructure to underserved communities. Its driver centers will be equipped with electric vehicle (EV) chargers and it will work with local partners to bring bike- and scooter-sharing services to neighborhoods lacking those resources.
City Works will further the commitment Lyft announced last year to making each trip carbon neutral. In addition to creating infrastructure, new EV charging stations also could encourage drivers to switch to vehicles that produce fewer or no emissions. The company also touted its purchase of certified carbon offsets and the commitment to use 100% renewable energy at Lyft facilities.
The ideas put forth through City Works essentially are continuations or extensions of the community-boosting efforts Lyft already has in development, but the initiative adds a firm monetary commitment.