Publication Detail

Results of Rancho Cordova “Free $5 to Ride” Ridehailing Discount Coupon Program


Research Report

UC ITS Research Reports / Senate Bill 1 (SB1), 3 Revolutions Future Mobility Program

Suggested Citation:
Harold, Brian, Caroline J. Rodier, Yunwan Zhang, Makenna Harrison, Grace Yang, Christine Phan (2022) Results of Rancho Cordova “Free $5 to Ride” Ridehailing Discount Coupon Program. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-22-38

Pilot programs have been implemented in cities across the U.S. to address the first- and last- mile problem with door-to-door shared microtransit, ridehailing companies, and shared-ride operators with dynamic pick-up locations. The City of Rancho Cordova and Lyft partnered to launch one such pilot in the form of a discount-based door-to-door (D2D) coupon program named “Free $5 to Ride”. The program offers $5 credits to Lyft riders who start or end their trips at one of four Sacramento Regional Transit District (SacRT) light rail stations. The program was designed to reduce rider dependence on personal vehicles and increase the overall convenience of transit use in the region. UC Davis researchers conducted an evaluation of the “Free $5 to Ride” program during its operational period of May 2019 through June 2021. Researchers developed a participant survey and used survey data along with participant trip data, ridership data for the SacRT light rail, and ridership data for the Rancho CordoVan shuttle service to characterize the outcomes of the pilot program. The evaluation shows that the coupon program was generally well-received. Participation levels increased dramatically by early 2020, and while trip activity dropped at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, program activity remained fairly constant through the end of the program. Researchers encountered survey sampling limitations due to ridehailing customer engagement policies, suggesting that future evaluations of similar programs would benefit from increased data access, or modified policies allowing operators to conduct more extensive outreach in support of these studies.

Key words: ridesourcing, public transit, first mile/last mile, shared mobility, Sincentives, surveys, travel behavior, outreach, pilot studies