Yesterday when I wrote about the meeting of minds over the safety of Deep Ellum, I left out one item of tangential importance. Coming in July, the Deep Ellum Foundation will institute some changes to the rideshare station pilot program.
You’ll remember this program. Quite possibly you’ve experienced it. (Quite possibly you should email me some quick thoughts about it if you have — [email protected]) To cut down on what were nearly half-hour travel times down a few short blocks of Elm and Main streets during peak weekend hours, the city and the Deep Ellum Foundation worked with Uber and Lyft to have drivers pick-up and drop-off rides at five designated spots.
Going forward, the biggest difference is an end to the policy during the week. From Monday until Thursday evening, it’s back to the old way. Makes sense. Why get dropped two blocks away when there’s not a soul around?
On top of that, during the weekends, police in the area will continue to allow pick-ups and drop-offs anywhere in the neighborhood between the hours of 3 a.m. and 8 a.m. That way, a bartender leaving after hours can get picked up right outside the bar. With Lyft, the app automatically allows a pin to drop right where you are. Uber, too, is working on a tech fix to make things more seamless, because you currently have to call your driver to coordinate during those hours.
That’s all via Deep Ellum Foundation Executive Director Stephanie Hudiburg, who laid out the changes Tuesday night at the event downtown. Hudiburg says congestion is down in Deep Ellum since the program began, and that Uber and Lyft have reported minor improvements in driver wait times. “From those standpoints, I think it’s going well,” she says.
Final things: since starting the program, the Foundation has expanded security at the drop-off locations, staffing up each with a guard through 4 a.m. The Foundation is also in the process of expanding the popular Prior Street zone so that drivers can drop people off on Commerce Street, as well.
So, there you have it. You’re now free to go about your day, take rideshares to and from Deep Ellum, and email your local magazine writer about the experience.