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Lyft: Lifting Up Communities, One Ride at a Time

“If transportation were a hotel, it’d be the worst run asset class, with 96 percent underutilization of assets,” said David Baga, chief business officer of the ride sharing platform, Lyft. “Seventy-five percent of seats are empty.” Lyft’s founders, Logan Green and John Zimmer, codified their expertise in logistics, hospitality, and tourism in software, “to improve people’s lives with the world’s best transportation” in ways that state DOTs and local transit authorities were struggling to do.

A Pay-It-Forward Culture

Baga described Lyft’s approach to business as inclusive, one that thrives on the diversity in the communities in which Lyft operates. Among the company’s value statements are “be yourself” and “uplift others,” starting with Lyft’s drivers. The founders believed that, if they treated drivers with care and respect—providing them with equal opportunities and digital tools to succeed—then drivers would treat passengers better and both groups would be satisfied with their Lyft experience.

The numbers bear that out: Lyft passengers have tipped their drivers $200 million through the Lyft app and, according to Baga, eight out of ten drivers prefer driving for Lyft. For drivers who wanted to get paid daily, Lyft partnered with online payments service Stripe to roll out Express Pay. For those whose own cars didn’t meet Lyft’s specifications, Lyft partnered with General Motors and Hertz to programs through which drivers can rent vehicles at special rates with maintenance and insurance included. Lyft worked with Shell to save its drivers fuel costs. All of these are powered by software and enabled by APIs. Baga said that its values and mission, “to reconnect people through transportation and bring communities together,” are more important than growth at any cost.

A Compelling Vision for Personal Mobility

Lyft’s ultimate goal is to revolutionize transportation. Consider these data: the average annual cost of car ownership is around $9,000, and yet owners use their vehicles on average only four percent of the time, including driving around in search of a parking spot. Lyft’s leaders foresee the end of private car ownership and the rise of driverless cars for hire. In partnership with GM, it is looking to deploy what Zimmer called “an on-demand network of autonomous vehicles,” which could help to reduce traffic jams and air pollution. Baga said that, since nearly 3.6 million people miss their doctor’s appointments each year because they can’t get a ride, Lyft partnered with non-emergency medical transit operator LogistiCare to offer such transportation.

With its know-how codified in its operating system, Lyft is making the most of the $10 trillion opportunity in personal mobility.

About the Session

Few industries are being reinvented as dramatically as transportation. From ridesharing companies to self-driving cars and smart roads, every aspect is being redesigned. Lyft is pursuing an innovative growth strategy, leveraging partnerships with auto makers and employers. Lyft’s Chief Business Officer, David Baga, discuss how a transportation disruptor gains a competitive edge and how they plan to continue to transform the industry with Vijay Gurbaxani, Founding Director, Center for Digital Transformation.

Presented as a part of the Center for Digital Transformation’s annual one-day Road to Reinvention: Leadership in the Digital Age conference on March 23, 2017 at the University of California, Irvine. + MORE

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