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DDOT, Lyft team up for late-night pilot program

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Photo by Michelle & Chris Gerard

While DDOT has made many improvements in service over the past couple years, gaps still exist for those who depend on Detroit’s bus system. A new pilot program will utilize ride-hailing company Lyft to help riders get to and from work. It’s the first of its kind in Detroit, but certainly a program we might see in more cities in the coming years.

The program kicks off May 8 and will be offered along the 53 Woodward route between 12 and 5 a.m. According to a press release from the city, “the pick-up or drop-off location must be on Woodward Avenue between Grand Boulevard and Woodland Street and between McNichols Road and Eight Mile,” or areas north of New Center not including Highland Park.

Passengers who want to participate in the pilot program must text ”W2W” to 313-456-9328 to receive a $7 Lyft credit. They also must download the Lyft app and create an account. No smartphone? Riders can sign up through Lyft Concierge. Passengers must have a debit card, credit card, or prepaid card with a balance greater than $25 to book the trip.

“Fixed route service is always going to be at the core of how we move our residents to jobs, school, and services,” said Mark de la Vergne, the Mayor’s Chief of Mobility Innovation. “This pilot project is our first step towards understanding how we can complement fixed route service with private providers to expand the mobility for Detroiters. We are eager to learn from this initial pilot how DDOT can integrate these types of innovation to make it as easy and affordable for residents to get around Detroit.”

2,000 rides will be offered in the pilot program. After that, DDOT and Lyft will assess the program and determine the next steps.

“Lyft was founded with the mission to reduce personal car ownership while removing transportation barriers. We are excited to be partnering with DDOT to help expand residents’ access to employment and services by serving as a late night bridge between public transit and employment centers,” said Elliot Darvick, General Manager of Lyft Michigan & Ohio. “Access to transit is key to the future economic development of Detroit and the surrounding region. For these reasons, we’re incredibly excited to be a part of this innovative new program.”

More information on the new program can be found here.