In every Lyft city, it's important that we pave a clear legal path for the ’stache to succeed. Fortunately, we have a whole team here at HQ helping us blaze a new trail for the movement. Meet Katie from Lyft’s Government Relations team.
How would you describe the mission of our Government Relations team?
Ultimately it’s really basic: to protect our community and help make sure Lyft is able to operate in cities across the U.S. It’s simple, but very important. We help keep the wheels on.
What are some of the unique challenges your team faces?
We’re often walking into an environment where people know very little about — or have preconceived notions — about Lyft, and ridesharing in general. This is a brand-new concept and one that can be foreign to many people, especially if they’ve never visited a city where Lyft already exists. Because of this, people’s initial instinct is to try and fit us into an existing category of transportation, like a cab.
It’s a mental barrier that becomes a regulatory barrier because the initial response is to try and regulate us like a cab – or some other existing transportation body. We must then work towards breaking these barriers so that the solution is a new regulatory structure that’s specific to ridesharing.
Lyft is expanding to more and more cities every week. From a regulatory standpoint, how do you decide that a city is ready for launch?
There’s rarely a black-and-white answer to this. The tricky thing is that because there’s often no existing regulatory framework for ridesharing, more often than not we’re in unchartered waters.
Can you give us an example of a successful launch from the GR perspective?
Pittsburgh is a classic example of a city that was in need of alternate forms of transportation, and has both a mayor and a city council that embraced ridesharing. We worked closely with them from the beginning to inform them about our safety procedures and how we take care of our community.
What can drivers and passengers do to help Lyft succeed in their city?
Be in tune to what’s going on in your city. Oftentimes the public only hears the big announcements, but these conversations are continuously evolving. When we reach out for your help, it means we’re at an incredibly important juncture and local officials are listening. Your voice can and does make a difference.
There are plenty of powerful voices that are opposed to us. If we want to continue to have Lyft as it operates today, we need to be united.
What do you like most about being a part of Lyft?
The people. I feel lucky to be part of such an amazing community – from HQ to those in cities across the country. Also, it’s incredibly exciting and rewarding to work for a movement that can fundamentally change the face of transportation in such a positive way.
What’s one thing you want every driver to know?
We always have your best interests at heart. A lot of the regulations that cities and states want to put into place directly impact drivers by placing barriers to participation that could prevent a lot of people from getting involved. We’re doing everything we can to prevent these measures and protect our community.
Office Hours takes you behind the scenes at our San Francisco headquarters to meet the dedicated crew that keeps Lyft rolling.