Free Lyft rides are cheaper than operating Call-n-Rides at Dry Creek, Centennial hopes

Starting Aug. 17, people in Centennial can get free Lyft rides to the Dry Creek light rail station as part of a new pilot program.

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lyft

Pretty soon, you'll be able to request a free Lyft to the light rail in Centennial. (Alfredo Mendez/Flickr)

Starting Aug. 17, people in Centennial can get free Lyft rides to the Dry Creek light rail station as part of a new pilot program funded by Bloomberg Philanthropy.

Turns out, giving away rides over about the same area as RTD’s Call-n-Ride is actually cheaper, said Centennial spokesperson Allison Wittern.

Centennial Innovation Team, the group behind the program, told CityLab that the new system will even serve three times as many people without requiring them to book a bus ride in advance. Planners told the site that riders can request rides directly in the Lyft app or in the “Go Denver” app.”

RTD isn’t ruling out expanding the program either:

“At this time we do not have plans to expand this program,” said RTD Spokesperson Tina Jaquez. “But we are hoping to learn from the pilot program and whether or not something like this would be an option for us in the future.”

Since we’re on the subject of increasing connections to transit, I have one low-tech recommendation.

See, I used to work in Centennial, and I rode the light rail to work every day, then biked or walked the last half mile. If I still worked there, I’d even be in the service area for this new pilot program. The one thing that I wanted more than anything else from the city of Centennial was to shovel its sidewalks.

It’s not just me either:

Sure, maybe I’m not in the target demographic for the new service, but I’d like to think that people of all ages would like the opportunity to walk.

The problem is Centennial doesn’t require private property owners to shovel their sidewalks, and the city says it can’t afford to do it either.

“The City does not maintain public sidewalks due to the lack of resources available to perform this task,” their website explains.

City Spokesperson Allison Wittern said that the grant that will bring free Lyft rides “needed to include transportation and mobility.” Sidewalks weren’t considered part of the scope for that.

But the city is always looking at different ways to improve, Wittern said.