Lyft not a good fit for Aspen |

Lyft not a good fit for Aspen

I’m sure you have all heard about the deal in the making involving the multi-billion-dollar rideshare company Lyft and the city of Aspen. This is an unprecedented move on Aspen’s end to reach out to the private sector to combat the traffic problem that plagues our city.

I am a current Uber/Lyft driver. I worked full-time for Lyft in 2016 and full-time with both Uber and Lyft in 2017. This year, I am still contracted with Uber on their black-car platform, but mostly operating as my own limousine company, Ajax Express.

Having more transportation network company operators in town won’t reduce congestion. It will encourage drivers to do laps around town and battle each other for “honey spots” so they are the closest car when the algorithm pings them for a request. A 2018 study, “The New Automobility: Lyft, Uber and the Future of American Cities,” shows how rideshare has increased traffic in nine major U.S. markets. There are many other studies concluding the same result.

Third, I know Lyft. This company does not value its contractors. We are commodities to them. I cannot qualify for affordable housing because they do not consider it a job. Lyft performs woefully here compared with Uber. This is a play by Lyft to try to capture more of the market. The scooters won’t work in a blizzard, and you can’t use them after 9 p.m. What contractor is going to load his HVAC equipment into a minibus at the Intercept lot after driving from Glenwood Springs? No, instead they will continue to drive into Aspen to their destination like the rest of us. Nobody is really going to benefit from this deal. Except Lyft.

So what is the solution? We need employers to incentivize carpooling. Other than that (and maybe *ahem* widening the bridge), it’s unclear. But what is clear is that this is a play by an outside company to try to weasel their way into our market, and the local transportation providers stand in agreement against it.

Noah Zemel

Snowmass Village

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