Shopping district helps shoppers get a ‘Lyft’ downtown this season

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published November 18, 2019

 To make parking in downtown Birmingham more efficient during the holiday shopping season, the Birmingham Shopping District is partnering with Lyft to offer discounted rides into and out of the area.

To make parking in downtown Birmingham more efficient during the holiday shopping season, the Birmingham Shopping District is partnering with Lyft to offer discounted rides into and out of the area.

File photo by Tiffany Esshaki

BIRMINGHAM — From valet parking to real-time structure vacancy updates on your smartphone, the city of Birmingham has gotten pretty creative over the years in addressing the shortage of parking spaces for visitors downtown.

With even more guests expected to head to Maple and Old Woodward in the coming weeks for holiday shopping, parties and, of course, the annual Christmas tree lighting and Winter Markt in Shain Park, the Birmingham Shopping District has teamed up with ride-share company Lyft to offer discounts to the bustling downtown area.

Through Dec. 31 — or whenever promotional funds of $20,000 run out, according to the BSD — guests can take advantage of a special discount code to get $7 off a Lyft fare into downtown Birmingham during daytime hours and $3 off a ride in during evenings.

“We’re excited to introduce discounted Lyft rides in Birmingham,” Ingrid Tighe, the executive director of the BSD, said in a prepared statement. “We’re making it easier than ever for shoppers and diners to visit Birmingham without having to park their vehicle.”

An individual rider may utilize a maximum of four rides during the designated daytime hours and two rides during evening hours. BSD board member and chair of the BSD Business Development Committee Sam Surnow said the aim is to make spending time and money with the merchants downtown convenient and attractive, and to maximize the existing parking as efficiently as possible.

“We are looking forward to partnering with Lyft, which will provide yet another convenient amenity for people to enjoy in the city of Birmingham,” Surnow said in an email. “Whether it is valet, two-hour free parking (in structures) and subsidized ride services, people in our city along with visitors are even more easily able to enjoy the restaurants, parks, shopping and other great attributes that Birmingham has to offer.”

Though the BSD isn’t connected to the city’s Advisory Parking Committee, which is tasked with making recommendations to the City Commission on how to supply and charge for parking downtown, the committee members think the promotion is a good idea to get patrons to the district during the holidays without an influx of vehicles.

“The Advisory Parking Committee is very supportive of the BSD’s efforts to promote discounted Lyft rides to downtown Birmingham,” committee member Al Vaitas said in an email. “We work closely with the BSD on many initiatives to make the parking experience positive for everyone who enjoys living, working or playing in our downtown.”

To take advantage of the Lyft discount, use the code BHAMDAY19 between noon and 5:59 p.m. and BHAMNIGHT19 between 6 and 11:59 p.m. when ordering a ride in the app.

For more information, visit the BSD website at allinbirmingham.com.