Lyft, the San Francisco-based rideshare company, will contribute $12.3 million to Baltimore's local economy in 2016, according to a study released Monday by the firm.
The study, conducted by Land Econ Group, found Baltimoreans using Lyft will save $3 million in travel time value, more than 285,000 travel hours, this year.
It found that nearly three-quarters of Lyft drivers in Baltimore used their earnings to support a small business, while 56 percent of riders use Lyft to commute to and from work. Forty-one percent of rides start in underserved areas, the company said.
"Passengers have responded to the significant time savings and enhanced mobility Lyft provides by visiting local businesses more often, staying out longer, and exploring new areas of their city that are otherwise difficult to reach," said Bill Lee, senior partner at Land Econ Group, in a statement released by Lyft.
The survey was conducted for 20 cities in which Lyft operates — including Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Seattle — and it found that the economies in those cities would see a collective $750 million in extra spending due to the rideshare firm's presence.
The study was released less than a month after Lyft and its top competitor, Uber, argued to the Maryland Public Service Commission that they should not be required to fingerprint their drivers, as is required for taxi drivers and many other professionals licensed by the state.
Uber threatened to withdraw from the market over the dispute. Lyft did not say whether it would stay in Baltimore if fingerprinting is required, but said New York is the only city where it operates that requires fingerprinting.
Riders nationwide saved more than $500 million and 26 million travel hours this year by using Lyft instead of other means of transportation, the study said.
Eighty-eight percent of Baltimore Lyft drivers have given a ride to a neighbor, and three-quarters of passengers said they are able to access new parts of the city because of the service, said Mike Heslin, Lyft's Baltimore Market Manager. Sixty-five percent of riders use their personal vehicle less because of the rideshare company.
"Lyft is helping to create a stronger community in Baltimore with flexible economic opportunities for drivers, improved transportation access for passengers, and gains in local economic activity," Lee said.