As business leaders and politicians cut a pink ribbon to officially open Lyft Ottawa’s new hub, it was a special fuzzy guest onstage who symbolized the relationship between the popular ride-hailing service and local community.
The presence of CHEO Bear alongside the local dignitaries illustrates Lyft’s business philosophy as it grows in Canada’s capital. When the service launched locally slightly more than two years ago, Lyft partnered with CHEO. The “Round Up to Donate” program on the Lyft app allows riders to round up their fare to the nearest dollar, donating the difference to the local health-care institution.
“We spend a lot of time in the community, being about the community,” says Rob Woodbridge, Lyft’s Ottawa market manager and a well-known local entrepreneur.
“So there’s the business side of it – the ride-share side. Then there’s also the civic side – the engagement side inside of Ottawa – where we support local charities, businesses and initiatives that make the community we live in much better.”
As it improves transportation accessibility and equity, Lyft recently launched its driver resource centre and support hub on Carling Avenue – the company’s first in Canada.
It’s the latest initiative in what has already been a busy year for Lyft locally. Earlier in 2019, the company implemented its “Community Grants Awards,” a monthly ride credit program that donates $1,000 in ride credits to local charities and non-profit organizations.
“They can use those credits towards getting people to a venue or a location, getting volunteers out to help and we’ve allocated four of those so far this year to some very needing and deserving charities,” Woodbridge says.
In April, Lyft activated a “Wheels For All Program,” providing free rides to anyone affected by flooding along the Ottawa River as well as for volunteers aiding relief efforts.
And, downtown, Lyft is helping Elgin Street merchants mitigate the impact of ongoing roadwork by facilitating convenient and safe transportation to and from the area.
“Elgin businesses are going through some turmoil right now as a result of the construction,” Woodbridge says. “Hopefully, Lyft makes a contribution to their bottom line by bringing people onto that street.”
Learn more about how Lyft is changing the way Ottawa residents move around the city here.