Bexar County Commissioners gave the green light to the County’s pilot program with rideshare company Lyft on Tuesday, that will give Bexar County employees a $20 credit to use the ride booking service during Fiesta, April 14-24.
“As Fiesta approaches, there are many events where consumption of alcohol will occur along with heavy traffic congestion,” said Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff. “The Commissioners Court, embracing innovation and new technology, decided to partner with Lyft to offer Bexar County employees a safe transportation alternative during Fiesta.”
County employees currently have existing transportation benefits, which include free rides on VIA Metropolitan Transit routes with valid employee identification cards and a one-time taxi fare reimbursement up to $45 per year under the County’s Employee Assistance Program. However, the pilot program with Lyft, which will not exceed a $49,000 cost to the County, will potentially be a more convenient and affordable option for those hoping to forgo driving come the Fiesta celebrations.
“Lyft dropped its rates in the market, and it has become more competitive than other ridesharing businesses in the area,” said Luis G. González, senior partner of business development, start-ups and lobbying at the local consulting firm OCI Group, of which Lyft is a client. “We can’t speak for Uber, but we can say that we’re competitive in comparison to Uber.”
Compared to taxi cabs, he added, Lyft rates are often cheaper and depend on the travel distance, time of day and the current demand for rides. The base charge for a Lyft trip is $0.90, and the cost per mile is $0.92, versus a $2.50 charge for the first one sixth of a mile and $2.60 for each mile thereafter for a local taxi ride with Yellow Cab San Antonio.
All new Lyft users already receive free user credits, meaning County employees who are also first-time Lyft users will get more credits in addition to the County credits during Fiesta.
González advised that County employees register as soon as possible to ensure they receive both credit specials, because “they will be administered on a first-come, first-served basis.”
Lyft users have access to real-time ride tracking and digital receipt features, and all Lyft drivers have professionally administered criminal background checks to ensure safety. Even for those who don’t take part in alcohol drinking during Fiesta, the Lyft credit will prove to be useful as the city routinely sees high traffic buildup and lack of parking during the annual Fiesta events.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Bexar County to promote Lyft as a safe, convenient ride option for their employees to get to and from Fiesta events without having to worry about parking,” stated Jaime Raczka, a Lyft general manager in a press release. “We’re thankful that Judge Wolff and Bexar County officials also see the benefits of expanding access to reliable transportation options like Lyft, allowing more people to get around safely.”
The discount could potentially become a permanent transportation benefit to Bexar County employees, pending evaluation by the County and the City’s ongoing pilot program that allows rideshare companies to operate in San Antonio in the first place.
Rivard Report Assistant Editor Lea Thompson contributed to this story.
Top image: Thomas Guevara, chief of staff office of the county manager, Analco González and Luiz Gonzalez of the OCI Group, present the County’s transportation pilot program with Lyft. Photo by Lea Thompson