Lyft Drawn by Phoenix Tech Environment

by RaeAnne Marsh

Identifying Phoenix as one of its fastest-growing markets, Lyft solidified its presence here with the opening of its Southwest Region headquarters in June. “We’ve seen accelerated growth,” says Southwest Region general manager Drena Kusari, reporting that both rides and drivers have more than tripled over the past year. “We believe it will continue, so we see Phoenix as a great investment.”

Greater Phoenix is seen as welcoming of new technologies as well as having a vibrant labor force, according to Kusari, who adds, “There’s an excitement about opportunities here for technology companies.”

Since bringing its operations here in 2013, Lyft has established numerous partnerships across a multitude of organizations that include nonprofits, education institutions, sports venues, and entertainment venues for various events. Its contributions to the Phoenix economy last year totaled $39.6 million. Kusari explains there’s an element of the networking effect, whereby people may go to a venue they hadn’t been to before due to parking or transportation issues. And, she points out, drivers’ extended use of their car leads to increased use of services such as car washes.

Lyft’s 3,813-square-foot Phoenix Hub is located within the Cotton Center, conveniently close to Sky Harbor Airport and a convergence of freeways. It will house Lyft’s 11 full-time local employees, plus in-person driver support, troubleshooting and recruiting resources for local Lyft drivers. Not every market has a hub; the Phoenix Hub will serve the Southwest Region, which, Kusari says, is largely the State of Arizona but may take in our neighboring state when Lyft transitions New Mexico from its “Emerging Markets” status.

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