By Jennifer Van Grove
The San Diego Union-Tribune
A new Lyft feature is making it easier for people to travel from and around Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
The ride-hail company recently announced a year-long collaboration with Marine Corps Community Services called “Base Mode” that establishes a special category for service members and their family members who want use the application to get around Camp Pendleton. The base is home to more than 38,000 military family members and sees a daytime population of 70,000 military and civilian personnel, according to the base’s website.
With Base Mode, Camp Pendleton is enclosed by a virtual border, or geofence, so that people requesting a ride from the base are only matched with Lyft drivers who have self-identified as cleared to make on-base pickups and drop-offs. Base Mode only appears to riders within the geofence, and is meant to eliminate the can-I-get-a-ride conundrum for would-be passengers who live on, or commute from, Camp Pendleton.
Base Mode goes into effect on Friday, May 18.
“We do know that passengers try to request rides on base,” said Hao Meng, the company’s market manager for San Diego. “So this is a big pain point we’re fixing.”
Previously, riders could be matched with any Lyft driver available, and would need to cancel the ride if the person did not have base access, she said. Camp Pendleton limits base access to people with approved military credentials and those sponsored by an authorized party.
Lyft views its pilot program as a way to boost both transportation options and money-making opportunities for Pendleton-based families. The Uber rival also expects military personnel to request a Lyft instead of using personal vehicles for business purposes.
The initiative, which the company is calling the first of its kind, includes a revenue-sharing component with Marine Corps Community Services, which plans to invest a portion of earnings into recreation programs. Specifics, including how much the military agency will make per ride, were not disclosed.
Founded in 2012, Lyft does not disclose the number of riders or drivers who use its ride-hail app in San Diego, but says it now holds 35 percent share of the national ride-hail market. Locally, veterans make up around 15 percent of Lyft drivers in the county, Meng said.
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