A New Day For Sundance Ride-Share Post-Uber Helicopter Fiasco As Lyft Pulls In

Deadline Hollywood

This year Lyft is the official ride-share sponsor at the Sundance Film Festival, and with that brings plenty of convenience for festival-goers. They were spoiled by an Uber hub adjacent to Main Street two years ago, then left without any ride-share pick-up/drop-off point last January.

That situation proved to be a mess. Park City, Utah was dumped on with a bottomless amount of snow during the fest’s first weekend. Making situations even worse was the fact that most of Main Street was closed down to traffic. This forced those requesting an Uber or Lyft to the side streets.

This year’s relief in Lyft brings a pick-up/drop-off hub in Swede Alley right in the middle of Main Street, which opens tonight. Across from that is the Lyft Lounge at 509 Main Street. Essentially, Lyft took over Prospect, the hipster clothing store that many festival-goers have compared to boutiques in Beverly Hills. Inside, there’s a barber shop, and a Pink Elephant coffee and juice bar upstairs. Even better, there’s discounted rides back and forth to the Swede Alley/Lyft lounge location. There’s also an exclusive waiting area at 1665 Bonanza Drive with coffee, snacks and restrooms.

While surge prices are de rigueur over the weekend for any ride share service, Lyft is offering discounted rides to a few film premieres, including Burden and Hearts Beat Loud. There’s also free and discounted Lyft rides to attend the first-year anniversary of the National Women’s March and the movie Inventing Tomorrow  — a pic that follows six high school students as they prepare for the world’s largest high school science competition, proposing big ideas and ingenious solutions to the world’s environmental challenges.

Two years ago, when Uber had their hub on Swede Alley, the word was that their relationship with Sundance became complicated following an UberChopper offering that never really took off. Uber (along with Blade) was offering festival-goers helicopter lifts between Salt Lake City and Park City for $200-$300 a pop. Up to five passengers could ride per booking, and the service operated from 12:30pm-8:30pm. However, the whole novel aerial taxi service went into a tailspin after the local Sheriff said that both Blade and Uber were in violation of Summit County code, and that they had to cease and desist from their choppering.

Any pilot found flying a helicopter for taxi purposes would be arrested and their craft impounded. Neither Uber nor Blade gained permission to operate their chopper biz from the County in advance. Citations were issued against property owners where the choppers were landing.

In teaming with Lyft, there’s also another added bonus for Sundance in #MeToo and Time’s Up times, and that is the ride-share company has a cleaner public image than its competitor Uber, whichm over the last year, has suffered sexual harassment allegations, lawsuits, and executive turnover.  This morning, Sundance founder Robert Redford, Sundance Institute executive director Keri Putnam and festival director John Cooper spoke about turning a new page in the post-Harvey Weinstein era, and welcomed a new future of female empowerment. Sources informed Deadline today that Uber’s image had nothing to do with Sundance not booking them as the festival’s ride-share sponsor: There was nothing philosophical and the two sides just couldn’t get a deal together.

As part of Sundance’s celebration of female empowerment, Lyft is hosting the panel #50WomenCanCohort at their lounge, which will center on the shifting media landscape and the important ways women will step into leadership. Panelists include SJ Murray, Executive Producer of Liberated, Creator of Basics of Story Design; Christie Marchese, CEO & Founder of Picture Motion; Jyoti Sarda, Founder & CEO of Nimble Media and Co-Executive Producer of Equal Means Equal, with Heidi Nel, Director of the Arts for Change Initiative at Raben_Impact, moderating,

Before Lyft officially became the ride-share partner for this year’s festival, both parties came together with Sundance NEXT FEST in Los Angeles last summer, where Sundance volunteers were able to take Lyft rides at no cost and festival-goers had access to discounted rides.

Lyft had a great 2017, seeing a $1 billion cash infusion from Alphabet, Google’ parent company. It was the ride-share company’s best year yet with 375.5M total rides, +130% from 2016, and they served 23M passengers, +92%  year-over-year increase, with more than 1.4 million drivers (double that of 2016). Per the company’s report, 250K Lyft users abandoned vehicle ownership in favor of ride-sharing, creating a situation that lessens traffic and boosts community mobility.

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2018/01/uber-lyft-sundance-film-festival-ride-share-sponsorship-1202248355/