Lyft partnering with Richmond to service seniors, disabled

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Local seniors and community members with a disability will soon get a Lyft.

Richmond is set to enter into an agreement with Lyft Inc. to augment the city’s current transportation program serving seniors and community members with disabilities, called R-Transit. The aim for the Lyft agreement is to improve travel times and service reliability and to reduce costs per trip for R-Transit clients, according to the city. 

Richmond Paratransit drivers will continue to provide subsidized service to non-ambulatory (wheelchair/ADA) clients, the city said.

In 2016, the city ended its contract providing taxicab services for the R-Transit program. In March, city council directed staff to prepare the Lyft contract.

Lyft will provide on-demand, non-ADA, “subsidized rides for all eligible residents and visitors who apply for coupon codes using Lyft within the boundaries of the program area, in addition to the County Hospital and Veteran Hospital in Martinez,” in an amount not to exceed $400,000 annually, according to city documents.

Riders who have entered the coupon code will pay $3 per one-way ride within the service map area, which is $1 less than the amount currently charged. The remaining costs will be covered by the city through Measure J funding, up to a maximum subsidy amount of $17 per round trip ride, and 60 rides per month.

As part of the agreement, free rides are provided for those assisting R-Transit clients as they travel.

R-Transit clients will be able to use the Lyft app and select the “Request Line” button to enter their destination. Within minutes, the client will receive a text message and or call from R-Transit staff prior to the driver arriving. The program also includes shared ride services allowing clients to share the cost of sharing a ride.

The Lyft service will be available 24 hours per day, seven days per week within the service area. The agreement between the city and Lyft is for one year, with five optional one-year extensions.

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