How Uber And Lyft Ruined An Event

Jim Luff
Posted on September 11, 2019
Can anyone say gridlock? (© Copyright Chris and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence).

Can anyone say gridlock? (© Copyright Chris and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence).

Okay, it might be overkill to say the TNCs “ruined” an event. However, they sure have changed the face of a local event. When I say the face, I mean the front curb. The front curb is the first and last thing people see when they arrive or depart this event.

It's called Village Fest. It's an annual festival held on the grounds of a museum known as Pioneer Village (hence the name). The four hour event is held on the first Saturday after Labor Day in Bakersfield, Calif. The festival is attended by 7,500 people each year and raises money for Childrens’ Advocates Resource Endowment (CARE) who in turn donate the proceeds to organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club, Scouting Programs, the Society for Disabled Children, as well as many community based sports leagues. It is referred to by local media as “The Party of the Year." This party includes sample tastes of over 100 different types of beer, 70 different bottles of wine, and 30 local restaurants, and features five stages with 15 different bands performing.

I have served as the president of CARE for the past fourteen years. We recently celebrated our 25th year of producing this festival as a fundraiser. For the past 24 years, the entire front curb line of the 17-acre venue has been dedicated to two distinct modes of transportation. Those two groups included licensed limousine services and licensed taxi services. This year, those two areas were completely replaced with signs and cones designating the area as the Uber/Lyft pickup area. Limousines were relegated to a private vehicle drop-off and pickup area used by the general public.

Taxis were essentially non-existent. I don’t recall seeing a single taxi when we arrived or departed. This is a stark contrast to the days when the curb was lined with taxis and limos. The old limo area reminded me a lot of an awards show like the Oscars, Emmys, or Grammys. It was an area to see the who’s who of Bakersfield as they arrived. Those days are gone. Even the most well-heeled arrived by TNC vehicles. It was disappointing for me to see this. Apparently, the committee that works tirelessly to organize various areas of the property reacted to the changing climate and the request for TNCs to have their own designated areas was much higher than the requests made by limousine services. A decision was also made to discontinue our long standing practice of personally calling and inviting every cab company in town to be present at the end of the event. This was done to encourage people not to drive intoxicated as they left our event. Since no cabs asked for space and no cabs showed up, I can only assume the TNCs ruined it for them as well.

Related Topics: charity, ground transportation, Jim Luff, Lyft, special events, taxis, TNCs, Uber

Jim Luff Contributing Editor
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