Metro to offer limited Lyft discounts in place of late-night buses, trains

Some commuters who have not been able to get home since Metro cut nighttime hours starting three years ago will now be eligible for a slight discount on Lyft rides home.

Metro apparently awarded the contract to Lyft, and will pay the company $3 of each registered rider’s eligible fares.

The subsidies for a ride-hailing company that competes with transit service faced some pushback, but are being implemented as a pilot program that will cost Metro up to $1 million in subsidies over the first year.

To be eligible for the $3 per trip Metro payment, riders must be 18 years old or older, register their SmarTrip card with Metro and specifically register that card for this program, provide contact information for their employer who schedules them on shifts that require travel that starts or ends between midnight and 4 a.m., and create a Lyft account.

Though a SmarTrip card is required, payment will be through the Lyft app.

Metro is targeting the subsidies for shared rides, where a driver picks up more than one person, but will also provide the subsidy for regular Lyft trips if there are no shared options available. To get the discount, riders must still select the shared ride option when requesting a trip.

Even riders who do register may not immediately get the discounts. Similar to SmartBenefits registrations, riders must register by the 21st of the month in order to get the discounts for up to 40 trips the following month.

Since Metro only announced the details of the plan Monday, the deadline for the discounts to start July 1 is 5 p.m. Friday.

Typically, Metro will take up to three days to verify eligibility before sending an email confirmation.

All trips must begin and end within the jurisdictions served (or soon to be served) by Metro in order to qualify for the discount: D.C., Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax, Fairfax County, Arlington County and Loudoun County.

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