Go Centennial, a project designed and put in motion by Centennial's Innovation Team, recently completed its six-month pilot program.
In August of last year, the city and the Denver South Transportation Management Association offered free Lyft Line rides to and from the Dry Creek light rail station to people who live or work within the existing Regional Transportation District Call-n-Ride service area. Rides were offered Monday Through Friday from 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The numbers started at 77 rides in August, the first month of operation. In January, the last full month of operation, the program provided 286 individual rides. A total of 67 percent of people who took part used the program more than once. It concluded in mid-February.
The program — for which the city had budgeted $400,000 — was created to address the first-and-last-mile dilemma of how to get people to and from public transit.
Allison Wittern, Centennial's public information manager, noted that six months is not a very long time for a change in a community's behavior but said the city was “pleased with the ridership.” The hope, she said, is that another organization would be interested in adopting a similar program in Centennial.
Paul Gunther, who works for the city's Innovation Team and was the user experience designer for Go Centennial, worked with the Go Denver app, powered by Xerox, and Lyft to ensure good user flow.
“This was really (Xerox and Lyft's) first rodeo for using this program,” Gunther said.
The Innovation team is an expansion of Bloomberg's Expansion Innovation Team planted in 12 cities across the United States. According to the city's website, the program aims to improve the capacity of cities to effectively design and implement new approaches that improve citizens’ lives.
Go Centennial was accessible through the Go Denver and Lyft mobile applications along with the Citizen Response Center, where people could get a ride by calling the city directly.
According to Go Centennial's January report, the Lyft app became the most popular option. In November, the Lyft app was used for 79 rides, and the number rose to being used for 186 rides in January.
The average price per ride came out to $4.97, and the city covered all costs for the users.
Gunther and Wittern compared Go Centennial to the Dry Creek Call-n-Ride program run by RTD, since the two programs served the same area. Gunther said Call-n-Ride use stayed consistent, remaining at an average of 50 rides per day throughout the Go Centennial pilot program. Go Centennial received an average of 11 riders per day.
“It was interesting that the Call-n-Ride stayed consistent,” Wittern said. “It looks like the people who took advantage of Go Centennial were new riders. It appears that we didn't take people from the Call-n-Ride. New people were interested in using the service.”