- Phoenix has teamed up with Lyft to offer a 20% discount on 10 rides to customers who use the ride-share service to get to or from bus stops, according to a company blog post.
- The 6-month pilot program is called "First Mile Last Mile" and includes trips between the customer's home and 500 bus stops. It could expand to other areas of the city if the pilot is deemed successful.
- The measure is the latest in a string of transit-forward actions in Phoenix, which is in line with the city's 35-year "Transportation 2050" plan.
Phoenix voters approved moving forward with Transportation 2050 in 2015 and the initiative went into effect in January 2016. It committed Phoenix to investing in light rail construction, bus service improvements and street improvements such as bike lanes and new pavement. The initiative eventually will lead to adding 42 miles of light rail, which will triple the current system's miles.
Under Transportation 2050, bus service hours already have been extended and the frequency of buses has increased. That's credited with creating a 6% bump in bus ridership this year, at a time when most of the country is experiencing a downward trend, according to the American Public Transportation Association's most recent ridership report.
The partnership between Phoenix and Lyft goes against the often-held belief of animosity between public transit providers and ride-share services, which are blamed for stealing customers. The city recognized that the popularity of ride-sharing likely won't diminish anytime soon, so it chose to harness the trend instead of fighting it. Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton has said that ride-sharing and public transportation both are parts of a modern and complete transit system, and they can complement each other and collaborate in a manner where both benefit.
Customers will benefit from the partnership because of the added convenience, especially those who do not live within walking or biking distance of a bus stop. They also win with cost, not just from the Lyft discount, but also because in many situations it might be cheaper to ride the bus for a portion of their trips instead of using a ride-share the entire time. The partnership adds to residents' multi-modal transportation options during a time when significant demand exists for flexible transportation, plus the exposure from the partnership's marketing campaign reminds residents of the many available forms of transportation that can be used for a single trip.