Ride-hailing startup Lyft and the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority are nearing a deal that will see the company share data about its rides that begin and finish near metro stations, reports the Los Angeles Times. The data is something the MTA has been interested in since Lyft started operating in the city three years ago.
Specifically, the MTA wants to know how ride apps like Lyft and Uber factor into addressing a problem known as the "first mile, last mile" gap at major bus and train transportation hubs in the city. That gap is the space between destinations and transit stations that aren’t within easy walking distance, notes the Los Angeles Times.
"We know that people use services like Lyft to get from home to transit, or to get to their final destination," Jacob Lieb, a Metro sustainability policy manager, told the Los Angeles Times. "But we don't have that much detail about how, and in what circumstances."
That data from Lyft could help the city better understand the needs of its commuters. Lyft declined to comment on the news, but Lieb told the Los Angeles Times that in exchange for the anonymized user data, L.A. Metro would advertise Lyft to its riders, and the organization is also considering adding Lyft rides into its route planning features in the official L.A. Metro app. That app creates a transportation itinerary based on a user’s journey start and end points.
Lyft has previously said that nationally, transit stops are riders’ most frequent drop-off locations and that in L.A., Union Station is the top destination. "These are the kinds of partnerships that we need to forge for the future," Metro spokesperson Pauletta Tonilas told the Los Angeles Times. "These days, none of us is the end-all, be-all of transportation options."