Starting this week, Camp Pendleton and Lyft are collaborating on a new pilot program called Base Mode that will help riders get to and from the base.
“Passengers on base will be able to request a ride from drivers that already have base access to take them off or within the base,” said Hao Meng with Lyft San Diego.
The problem before Base Mode was that if a Marine called for a ride, the closest driver might not be able to get on base, so they would have to cancel the ride.
“I get a lot of the Marine riders like on the weekends or go out and they don't want to drive of course,” said Base Mode driver Tevin Walton.
Camp Pendleton, with its approximately 85,000 active duty military families and employees, is one of two bases taking part in the year-long test. Ft. Meade in Maryland is also giving it a try.
None of the base gate procedures are affected by the program.
“We come up, I have to show my driver license and they have to show their military ID to show that they have base access,” said Walton.
The program will also give veterans with access to the base, military spouses and other civilians who live and work on base the opportunity to drive for the program said Meng.
“In order to make this program successful, drivers are the most important thing and so we are definitely actively recruiting drivers who have base access,” Meng said.
Lyft has been building a strong relationship with the military. Right now, 15 percent of all Lyft drivers in San Diego are veterans, and the company also has a program to help qualified Afghan and Iraqi interpreters who assisted the military overseas.
If the project is a success then the plan is to keep the program going.
Since joining Lyft, Walton has been able to buy two cars and has found other benefits of driving.
“It’s definitely a way to meet a lot of people out here in California and on base,” he added.
Lyft is also donating some of the revenue to help programs on base.