Lyft to invest $50m for City Works transportation initiative – with LA first on the list

California-based transportation network firm Lyft has said it will invest $50 million (£38.4m), or 1% of the company’s profits, into locally-driven transportation services and other initiatives via its City Works programme.

Los Angeles would be the first beneficiary of the initiative, the company added, as the city reflects three key priorities of the programme: providing transportation, developing transportation infrastructure, and creating a clean energy future.

“Lyft City Works doubles down on our longstanding partnerships with civic leaders across the country and strengthen the collaborative relationships we’ve built along the way,” the company wrote in a blog post confirming the news. “We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to work together, as a growing movement, to improve city life and build a future that ensures transportation access to those who need it most.”

Lyft will offer transportation services to support the staff and communities of A Bridge’s Home partner organisations including the YWCA of Greater Los Angeles, Path, and the People Concern. The ride-hailing company already provides low-cost scooter rides to qualified low-income residents in Los Angeles through its community pass.

The company is additionally working with the city to accelerate and expand transportation infrastructure efficiently to connect underserved communities. It will also work with local non-profit and civic partners to expand bikes and scooters into underserved areas of the city to add value to these localities.

When IoT News spoke with Seleta Reynolds, general manager at the LA Department of Transport (LADOT) at MWC Barcelona in February, the message was that the city was a great test-bed for various smart transportation initiatives. Some areas, such as Sunland-Tujunga, are near-rural, while others, like Koreatown, are densely packed. Earlier this week, a Twitter thread went viral which showed two cars duelling it out in Koreatown for more than an hour over a single parking space.

While actions speak louder than words, Reynolds admits it can be difficult. “In Los Angeles we’re really good at voting for the greater good… but when it comes to actually putting in a new transit one lane down from [where we live], it feels much more personal,” she said.

Lyft recently came out of its much-vaunted IPO at the start of this week punching a little below its weight. As Forbes contributor Bryan Rich explained, it is all a question of balance. “Ironically, if the ride sharing movement is to succeed in the long run, and is to fully reach the potential that is being priced into the valuations today, then they will need car rental companies to supply and manage the fleet of vehicles required for Uber and Lyft to scale.

“With [this] in mind, [the] valuation gap clearly shows a disconnect from that reality,” Rich added.

You can find out more about Lyft City Works by visiting here.

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