Denver Suburb to Test Free Lyft Rides to Bolster Light Rail Ridership

The city of Centennial, Colo., hopes to connect more residents to the larger Denver area by helping them get to light rail more efficiently.

by / August 12, 2016

A young Colorado town has become the latest to begin testing the idea that a solution to the age-old problem of getting people to transit stations already exists — and it comes with a big, pink mustache.

Centennial, a 15-year-old Denver suburb, is pilot-testing a system where riders get free rides through the ride-sharing app Lyft when they’re headed to a nearby light rail station, according to The Atlantic’s CityLab. The program begins Aug. 17 and will last six months.

The Dry Creek light rail station, the focus of the pilot, is in the midst of an expansion that will see it grow from two service lines to three.

Like many other cities struggling to overcome the significant barrier of getting citizens to and from transit stops, Centennial has already tried out a call-and-ride solution where people are able to schedule transportation to transit in advance. And like a handful of other local governments — Kansas City, Mo.; Dallas; and Pinellas County, Fla. are prime examples — it’s hoping that ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft can operate much more efficiently and conveniently for customers.

The program is integrating directly into an existing multi-modal transportation app called GoDenver that the area has been using since early 2016. The app allows users to plug in an origin and destination, and see options for getting there that might combine transit, ride sharing, car sharing, taxis, walking, cycling or other modes of travel. It combines price and travel time with information about how many calories the user will burn and the carbon emissions the trip will cause.

Other local government approaches to ridesharing as a solution for transit have taken different approaches than Centennial, ranging from subsidized rides to ticket integration.