Ridesharing company Lyft opens 35000-square-foot driver center in Mission Valley

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Lyft opened a 35,000-square-foot “Driver Center” Tuesday in a former Toys “R” Us store in Bay Park to provide a one-stop …
February 11, 2020
Posted: February 11, 2020

Kacey McKinnon

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Lyft opened a 35,000-square-foot “Driver Center” Tuesday in a former Toys “R” Us store in Bay Park to provide a one-stop location for its drivers to go for vehicle repairs, maintenance and other support services.

“We’re proud to open one of Lyft’s first Driver Centers in San Diego to further meet our drivers’ needs directly,” said Lyft Southern California General Manager Hao Meng. “We know that maintaining a vehicle can add up and our goal is to service drivers’ vehicles in a timely and affordable way so they can get back on the road.”

The facility at 1240 W. Morena Blvd. will be staffed by 20 vehicle service specialists, driver support and onboarding staff.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jerry Sanders and other community leaders were on hand for an opening ceremony.

The Driver Center is designed like a race car pit stop, according to the ride-hailing company, with technicians working in teams to quickly get repairs completed and drivers back on the road.

Available vehicle services include oil changes, tire rotation, and replacement of tires, brake pads, wiper blades, spark plugs, filters and batteries, along with free diagnostic assessments. While the cost of services may vary based on a vehicle’s make and model, Lyft officials said the company is working to ensure pricing is below the market average.

Lyft drivers can schedule an appointment by visiting Lyft.com/drivercenter, tapping on “Service” in their Driver app or simply walking in to the center, which will also serve as a driver hub with places to relax in between rides, access to bathrooms, Wi-Fi, coffee, lounge and work spaces.

Drivers can connect in-person with Lyft community representatives for assistance, including vehicle inspections and app support.

Lyft’s Express Drive program will also operate out of the San Diego center, connecting Lyft drivers to rental vehicles with standard maintenance and insurance coverage through rental partner Flexdrive.

Lyft recently opened similar facilities in Austin, Texas, Denver, Phoenix and San Francisco.

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Lyft turns former Toys “R” Us into repair, support center for San Diego drivers

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Lyft opened a 35,000-square-foot “Driver Center” Tuesday in a former Toys “R” Us store in Bay Park to provide a one-stop …

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Lyft opened a 35,000-square-foot “Driver Center” Tuesday in a former Toys “R” Us store in Bay Park to provide a one-stop location for its drivers to go for vehicle repairs, maintenance and other support services.

“We’re proud to open one of Lyft’s first Driver Centers in San Diego to further meet our drivers’ needs directly,” said Lyft Southern California General Manager Hao Meng. “We know that maintaining a vehicle can add up and our goal is to service drivers’ vehicles in a timely and affordable way so they can get back on the road.”

The facility at 1240 W. Morena Blvd. will be staffed by 20 vehicle service specialists, driver support and onboarding staff.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Jerry Sanders and other community leaders were on hand for an opening ceremony.

The Driver Center is designed like a race car pit stop, according to the ride-hailing company, with technicians working in teams to quickly get repairs completed and drivers back on the road.

Available vehicle services include oil changes, tire rotation, and replacement of tires, brake pads, wiper blades, spark plugs, filters and batteries, along with free diagnostic assessments. While the cost of services may vary based on a vehicle’s make and model, Lyft officials said the company is working to ensure pricing is below the market average.

Lyft drivers can schedule an appointment by visiting Lyft.com/drivercenter, tapping on “Service” in their Driver app or simply walking in to the center, which will also serve as a driver hub with places to relax in between rides, access to bathrooms, Wi-Fi, coffee, lounge and work spaces.

Drivers can connect in-person with Lyft community representatives for assistance, including vehicle inspections and app support.

Lyft’s Express Drive program will also operate out of the San Diego center, connecting Lyft drivers to rental vehicles with standard maintenance and insurance coverage through rental partner Flexdrive.

Lyft recently opened similar facilities in Austin, Texas, Denver, Phoenix and San Francisco.

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Congestion pricing and ridesharing — two ideas that could fit perfectly together

The Sun-Times Editorial Board voiced its concern about one approach the city may take to congestion pricing. At Lyft, we are firm supporters of true …

The Sun-Times Editorial Board voiced its concern about one approach the city may take to congestion pricing.

At Lyft, we are firm supporters of true congestion pricing, when implemented comprehensively and in a way that doesn’t harm working families in Chicago.

We’re encouraged that the board supports this policy — a fee charged to all motorists in congested areas (typically downtown) while incentivizing shared rides.

This logical step would help decrease traffic throughout the Loop, West Loop and Lincoln Park and also bring needed money to the city.

However, we were disappointed that the board suggested first adding more fees to rideshare in Chicago, already the highest taxes and fees in the nation. That short-sighted thinking will do more harm than good and would not solve the city’s budget needs.

Chicagoans would be led to drive themselves more often, exacerbating congestion. Those without other transportation options would be punished.

Let’s start by acknowledging the obvious: Traffic downtown is a serious issue.

Trying to get around when the streets are at a standstill is frustrating, and it’s the case far too often. As the Sun-Times notes, Chicago ranks third nationally for time wasted in traffic jams.

Here’s the thing: Rideshare vehicles account for less than 4% of the vehicle miles traveled throughout Chicagoland. The other 96% come from personal or commercial vehicles.

To really address congestion, we must tackle that 96% — personal cars and delivery trucks that clog up our streets.

Shared rides, scooters, and bikes, like our partnership with Divvy, are also great ways to reduce this traffic — most effective if we can incentivize their use with congestion pricing.

To alleviate our crippling traffic problems, the city should align behind congestion pricing applied comprehensively to all vehicles in the downtown area. Let’s get this done without hurting those who rely on rideshare to get around and make their living.

Elliot Darvick, Midwest regional director, Lyft

SEND LETTERS TO:letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes.

Terrible timing on firefighter article

As a 4th generation Chicago firefighter and an elected representative of over 7,400 active and retired Chicago firefighters and paramedics, I was absolutely appalled by the thoughtless timing of your article published on 9/11/19“Lightfoot taking aim at costly perks, staffing requirements in fire contract.”

On a national day of mourning for first responders and others whose lives were lost on 9/11/2001, such an article, and its timing, was careless at best, and its irony couldn’t be more glaring.

If the backdrop of our nation’s largest, most deadly terrorist attack isn’t the best reminder to the City of Chicago and its citizens of the need to maintain a fully staffed, highly trained and efficient fire department, I don’t know what is.

Although the headline would lead one to believe that the positions and statements were directly attributed to the mayor, they were in fact from an anonymous source. Moreover, the acrimonious tone of these statements and their timing raises suspicions about the true motivation and agenda of these so-called sources.

Based on my experience, I simply refuse to believe that Mayor Lightfoot would be so insensitive as to attend a memorial service honoring the Chicago Fire Department and the families of those who lost loved ones on that fateful day, knowing such an article would be published that very morning.

As a citizen of our great city, I remain confident that Mayor Lightfoot’s commitment to public safety remains unwavering. Perhaps we should be less concerned about so called “sacred cows” and more concerned about “chickens coming home to roost”.

Robert Tebbens, political director, Chicago Firefighters Union – Local 2

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StreetLight Data adds detailed metrics to transportation funding platform

Big data analytics firm for the transportation industry, StreetLight Data Inc. has added new and more detailed metrics to its InSight cloud-based …

Big data analytics firm for the transportation industry, StreetLight Data Inc. has added new and more detailed metrics to its InSight cloud-based software platform, allowing agencies to determine funding needs for highway improvements, and forecast road maintenance expenditures.

StreetLight has long offered Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) metrics, a critical tool for transportation professionals analyzing infrastructure projects, estimating road safety or seeking highway funds. The company is now unveiling new Annual Average Hourly Traffic (AAHT) counts and Monthly Annual Daily Traffic (MADT) counts. Transportation planners, engineers and other industry experts can now access hourly, daily, weekly and monthly traffic metrics using the InSight Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform. The new highly-detailed AAHT and MADT metrics can help state and local governments to reduce their current traffic and transportation challenges while aiding long-term planning decisions, such as the widespread introduction of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs).

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Traditional traffic data collection and measurement methods require installing expensive sensors, investing in driver surveys and then using those results to model estimated counts, all of which require a lengthy and expensive process of getting approvals, training staff, collecting actual counts, and validating data that can typically take months and come at very high costs, often with limited accuracy. Based on more than one trillion annual location records across Canada and the USA, StreetLight’s proprietary machine-learning algorithms draw on 365 days of data on more than 4.5 million (7.2m km) miles of roadway. The new AAHT and MADT counts are available for both large urban streets, as well as small rural roads.

AAHT and MADT counts are essential for identifying and forecasting traffic conditions for specific days or months of the year. For example, in some communities traffic on a Wednesday afternoon in March can be dramatically different from traffic on a Wednesday afternoon in July. A community in Florida may gather traffic information during April, then extrapolate monthly traffic metrics from that data. However, those results may not account for heavier tourist traffic in winter months and lighter travel mid-summer. Similarly, they cannot reveal changes in road usage during storms and other unusual events. With StreetLight’s new AAHT and MADT metrics, communities are able to access this information more accurately and with near real-time results.

“Transportation planners have always found it difficult to deliver accurate monthly and daily traffic data due to technological constraints, increasingly tight budgets, small survey response numbers and data sets, as well as complex seasonality factors,” said Laura Schewel, CEO and co-founder of StreetLight Data. “We are excited that we now have the capability to offer this level of detail almost immediately, wherever and whenever it’s needed.”

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Metro Is Experimenting with Public Rideshare—Without the Help of Uber or Lyft

“Just like Amazon sells third-party goods, we are going to also offer third-party transportation services,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told Recode …

Uber has fallen into a major financial slump as of late, reporting more than $5 billion in losses in the second quarter of 2019 and laying off a third of its 1,200-person marketing department in an effort to cut costs.

As the company tries to rekindle its once-explosive growth rate, it’s started making moves to diversify, expanding the range of transit modes it offers to become a “one-stop shop” for customers’ transportation needs. “Just like Amazon sells third-party goods, we are going to also offer third-party transportation services,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told Recode last year. “We want to kind of be the Amazon for transportation.”

Aside from scooping up the bike and scooter company Jump and pouring money into high-tech projects like autonomous vehicles and Uber Air, the rideshare company has made a big push to partner with cities’ public transit agencies, incorporating info and ticket-buying options for trains and buses into its app, and in some cities, like Dallas, even replacing would-be transit routes with subsidized rides.

But according to Joshua Schank, chief innovation officer at Metro’s Office of Extraordinary Innovation, we won’t see an Uber-Metro alliance forming anytime soon. While L.A. has long sought an innovative way to boost ridership by solving its notorious “first mile, last mile” problem, the city decided to partner with another, smaller rideshare company to help out with this issue—the New York-based Via. In January, it launched a one-year pilot program with the company, offering shared rides to and from the North Hollywood, El Monte, Artesia, Compton, Willowbrook/Rosa Parks, Avalon, and Long Beach Metro stations.

Schank says that the city’s decision to eschew both Uber and Lyft (which was originally considered for this program) was made in part because those larger companies are less open to sharing their data. He says that knowing where riders need to go is essential for improving Metro’s services. “Knowing how well we’re doing, and therefore being able to figure out what kind of services we should be offering in these types of partnerships, is critical,” Schank says.

Congestion was also a concern when developing the program. Last month, Uber and Lyft released a joint study that showed the two companies were increasing traffic in Los Angeles, accounting for between 2 and 3 percent of all vehicle miles traveled in September 2018. Schank said instead of subsidizing full routes like Dallas did with Uber, Metro’s partnership with Via will only offer rides to and from existing Metro stops.

“What we’re doing with Via is trying to get more people in shared vehicles to and from train stations, which we believe at a minimum won’t contribute to congestion,” says Schank. “But more critically, it contributes positively to our goal of getting more people around without using single occupancy vehicles.”

Schank says that another big benefit of Via is that it pays its employees “a living wage.” While Via drivers, like Uber and Lyft drivers, are still considered independent contractors, they are paid an hourly rate regardless of whether they pick up any riders. Uber and Lyft have faced controversy for not compensating their drivers fairly.

And Metro has another innovation up its sleeve as well, says Schank. It’s been developing its own “microtransit” program, which will allow riders to hail on demand mini-buses operated by Metro employees. “That’s going to be a big experiment to see what happens when a public agency tries to incorporate on-demand shared ride services into its business model,” he says. The program is slated to launch early next year.


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