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Ridesharing is sustainable economic development for Vancouver

Jun 28, 2018

Lyft is one of the largest voluntary purchasers of carbon offsets in the world.

Ridesharing enables cities to meet their goals of sustainability, economic development and progressive paths forward. The City of Vancouver aims to be the Greenest City in the world.  The B.C. government recently passed new legislation with aggressive GHG emissions reduction targets. The opportunity for ridesharing needs to complement the sustainability commitments of the province, city and community - and Lyft gets it.

Lyft is the first rideshare company to offset all rides globally and one of the largest voluntary purchasers of carbon offsets in the world. We are making a multi-million dollar investment this year towards this initiative, which is a deliberate effort to build a financial incentive into Lyft’s business model to transition away from gasoline-powered vehicles. These offsets will serve as a bridge towards our ultimate goals of getting more people into fewer cars, reducing the number of cars on the road, and ensuring the cars remaining are electric and powered by renewable energy.

Our emissions reductions efforts will focus on renewable energy, forest carbon projects, reducing emissions from the automotive manufacturing process, and capturing methane from landfills. To make an immediate impact, we are funding existing emission reduction projects. All projects are independently validated and verified under leading, internationally-recognized offset standards maintained by not-for-profit environmental organizations. Over time, our efforts will shift towards developing new projects in and around our largest markets.

B.C. has been a global leader in pricing carbon. To keep up the momentum, new technologies must be engaged that prove environmental sustainability and economic development do not need to be at odds – in fact, they complement each other.

Climate change is one of the defining issues and greatest global threats of our time– Lyft understands that, and built this understanding into the company’s foundation. Lyft believes that technology will enable us to dramatically reduce carbon emissions from the transportation system while improving quality of life and access to opportunity for everyone. We’re more determined now than ever to make that vision a reality. With this new initiative, we are also working diligently to move to an entirely electric fleet.

One of the greatest misconceptions about ridesharing is that it intends to replace current transportation options, thereby increasing congestion and cars on the road. This is just not the case. In fact, our commitment to creating more sustainable transportation ecosystems is reflected in our largest markets where more than 40% of rides are the first and last miles – Lyft passengers catching a ride to their bus or train stations and then home – enabling more people to use public transportation versus driving single passenger vehicles downtown. Lyft is keen to work with current transportation authorities, planners and visionaries to co-create new options that reduce emissions and enable more mobility for all citizens.

Lyft is walking the talk when it comes to sustainability and economic development. Vancouver alone is missing out on $35.4 million estimated annual new spending by Lyft passengers at local businesses, $34.9 million estimated annual driver earnings from Lyft rides, $33 million estimated value of time saved by Lyft passengers. Unlocking ridesharing across the province would have enormous economic and increased environmental benefits.

When it comes to sustainability and economic development – Lyft shows they go hand in hand. For British Columbia, moving forward with ride sharing will also move the Province forward on sustainability and the shift to a low carbon future.

By Timothy Burr, Director of Public Policy, Lyft

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