Tysons, VA

Starting next week, people can get free Lyft rides during the holiday season from the ridesharing app’s partnership with a local nonprofit to combat drunk driving.

The Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) is sponsoring the free rides starting next Friday (Dec. 20), according to a press release from WRAP.

Local residents in the D.C. area ages 21 and older can use a promo code for rides up to $15 from 10 p.m. until 4 a.m. in Lyft’s D.C. coverage area, which includes all of Fairfax County.

Riders can find the codes starting at 9 p.m. on Dec. 20, 27 and 31. on SoberRide’s website. The program is set to run to Jan. 1.

Last December, 1,988 people in the D.C. area used WRAP’s SoberRide program, the press release said.

“More than a third of all U.S. traffic fatalities during the holiday season in 2018 involved drunk drivers according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,” WRAP’s President Kurt Gregory Erickson said in the press release.

Image via Washington Regional Alcohol Program

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The fairly routine annual approval of taxicab certificates at yesterday’s (June 25) Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting instead marked the end of an era as the county approved no certificates.

Every odd-numbered year, Fairfax County government reviews taxicab applications and gives out new permits based on assessed need. But this year, staff found that there was a decline in demand by nearly 25 percent, meaning no new certificates would be needed.

“I was not at all surprised by the number of taxicab certificates,” said Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross. “This is so different than years ago.”

“There was always competition,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova agreed.

Staff noted in a memo last April that the taxicab market was experiencing a sudden decline.

According to staff:

The County’s taxicab market was experiencing a period of unprecedented contraction due to widespread customer acceptance of transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Lyft… The memorandum noted that as of April 2018, the County’s fleet size had dropped from 654 to 453 taxicabs due to operators’ relinquishment of 201 taxicab certificates. Since that April 2018 memorandum, operators have relinquished an additional 85 certificates, bringing the current Fairfax County taxicab fleet to 368 vehicles.

While taxi cab numbers fell, the memo noted that TNC registrations skyrocketed with 16,000 active registrations in Fairfax in 2016 compared to 654 taxicabs. But in 2017, the requirement for Uber and Lyft drivers to register with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles was repealed, so the current number of TNCs active in Fairfax County is unknown.

Observing the taxicab industry’s decline, the Board of Supervisors also expressed concerns over the impact on accessible rides for persons with disabilities. By code, wheelchair accessible vehicles must number 4 percent of the overall taxicab fleet, but declining numbers of taxis meant a declining requirement for accessible cabs.

“What is the effect on accessible cabs available?” Gross asked. “This board spent a lot of time years ago to ensure that the holders of certificates had a percentage of accessible taxis available. This seems like it throws it all into a cocked hat.”

Staff said that the current requirement was for 15 total wheelchair-accessible cabs, but there are currently 28 in service in Fairfax. Staff noted that Uber and Lyft both have accessible cab options, but that there was no authority to regulate their requirement in the transportation network. Bulova directed staff to work with consumer protection to examine how to mitigate the impact of the decline of taxis on transportation accessibility.

File photo

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Local nonprofit Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) and ridesharing app Lyft have teamed up again to offer free rides to keep intoxicated drivers off of the road on St. Patrick’s Day.

As part of an effort to combat drunk driving, WRAP will be sponsoring free Lyft rides on Sunday night and early Monday morning.

From 4 p.m. on Sunday (March 17) until 4 a.m. on Monday (March 18), rides up to $15 are free with the use of a promo code — one ride per person.

Since the St. Patrick’s Day SoberRide program aims to keep prevent alcohol-related crashes, Lyft riders must be at least 21 years old to claim the offer. The code, which works for any rides inside the D.C. coverage area, is valid for the first 1,500 Lyft passengers who enter the code.

WRAP and Lyft previously partnered to combat drunk driving during the holiday season.

Image via Fairfax County Fire and Rescue

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Local nonprofit Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) and ridesharing app Lyft are again partnering to offer free rides during the holiday season.

As part of an effort to combat drunk driving, WRAP will be sponsoring free Lyft rides starting this Friday (Dec. 14) .

From 8 p.m. to 4 a.m., rides up to $15 are free with the use of a promo code. The user is responsible for any costs over $15. The offer will continue until Jan. 1.

Weekly codes will be posted at the Sober Rides website at noon on Dec. 14, 22, and 31. The weekly code is only valid for one ride.

According to the Virginia Highway Safety Office, there were 621 alcohol-related crashes in Fairfax in 2017, resulting in 331 injuries and 12 fatalities.

As the program is aimed at preventing alcohol related crashes, Lyft riders must be at least 21 years old to claim the offer. The code is valid for any rides inside the D.C. coverage area, which includes all of Fairfax County.

The SoberRide program operates during the December/January holiday season, St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, Independence Day and Halloween.

Image via Washington Regional Alcohol Program

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Morning Notes

Painted Benches Coming to Vienna — “In honor of the Vienna Arts Society’s upcoming 50th anniversary in 2019, artists from the group will decorate 41 wooden benches that will be placed around the town for six months next year.” [InsideNova]

Free Lyft Rides for Halloween — “Offered by the nonprofit Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP), the 2018 Halloween SoberRide program will be in operation beginning at 10 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27 and continue until 4 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 28, as a way to keep local roads safe from impaired drivers during this traditionally high-risk holiday.” [McLean Connection, Washington Regional Alcohol Program]

Macy’s Hiring for Holiday Season — “As the Christmas shopping season approaches, Macy’s will be hiring seasonal staff at the two Tysons Corner locations. Hiring events will be held from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 18.” [Patch]

Fairfax May Legalize Hedgehogs — “Having a chinchilla, hedgehog or hermit crab in Virginia’s Fairfax County makes you a scofflaw, but that could soon change. The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to advertise a public hearing on changes to the definitions of ‘commonly accepted pets’ that can be kept without special, individual permission from zoning authorities.” [WTOP]

VA-TF1 Hurricane Deployment Update — “On October 14th the team was relocated to Jackson County, approximately 40 miles north, northeast of Panama City where they continue to work today. The team is conducting wide-area searches including detailed searches of damaged structures.” [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

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