Ride-hailing companies and TriMet are together offering Portlanders $549 in ride credits for signing on to a Ditch Your Car campaign during the month of October.
The campaign, spearheaded by Lyft, asks residents to "give up their cars for a month in favor of getting around town via shared Lyft rides, TriMet options, Biketown or Zipcar."
Lyft's Oregon Market Manager, Nathan Lawless, says the campaign is not a response to decreased Portland ridership numbers—which have in fact increased 40% weekly since the start of 2018.
That spike may be pulling people off trains and buses, however. Ridership data from TriMet show decreased bus, MAX and streetcar use.
During the 2017 financial year, TriMet passengers logged 511,139,747 miles in rides and spent $116,894,783 on fares. This financial year, ridership miles totaled 426,921,134, with passenger revenue being $113,836,174.
TriMet spokesperson Roberta Altstadt says the partnership gives people a chance to use multiple forms of transportation instead of their cars.
"We are always looking for opportunities to promote transit," she tells WW. "Teaming up with ride-share and bike-share opportunities is a great way for people who may not live close to a bus or rail line to connect with the transit system."
It's unclear whether the partnership will have much effect on traffic congestion, however. Studies this year suggested ride-hailing services like Lyft and Uber drew people away from public transit in places like Boston—in fact adding to traffic congestion instead of reducing it.
A similar partnership with a public transit agency was launched by Lyft in Chicago, Ill. in July, The Verge reports.
David Katcher, Lyft's general manager for the Midwest, told the tech media outlet, "We are literally asking people to get rid of their cars. Basically, we're giving people this opportunity to park their cars for 30 days, and here's everything you need to get around this city."
The transit credits do not count towards e-scooters, which have two months left in Portland as part of the city's four-month pilot program. That is unsurprising, consider Lyft's competitor, Uber, recently invested $335 million in scooter company Lime.