Thanks to a photo submitted to local blog Popville, word got out last weekend that a Lyft car with congressional plates, which bestow special parking privileges for members and staffers, was spotted in the District.
“So which member of Congress drives @lyft,” asked the citizen photographer on Twitter. Turns out none — that we know of.
When asked about the car, Cummings cleared things up in a statement, “In an effort to earn some extra money to pay her expenses at school, she signed up for a part-time position with one of the ride-sharing companies. They, in turn, gave her a sticker to apply to the windshield of the car.”
The congressman has since asked his daughter, who graduated from Howard University this month, to remove the congressional license plates from the Honda. But dear old dad is letting Adia continue to use the vehicle, which belongs to Cummings and is not leased through his Member’s Representational Allowance, to earn extra cash “while she pursues full-time employment.” Lyft allows its drivers to use cars they do not own as long as those drivers are named on their vehicle’s auto insurance.
According to Lyft, the four-year-old ride-sharing service, Washington is one of its earliest and largest markets. The company, however, had no data on how many Washington-types — staffers, government workers, Wizards players — might be moonlighting as drivers.
The typical Lyft driver, said Paige Thelen, a spokeswoman for the company, is hard to pin down.
“We’ve heard from retirees who decide to join Lyft in order to get out of the house, students using Lyft to help pay off their loans, entrepreneurs who need to earn money to support their growing business, teachers, single moms …” said Thelen, ticking off a long list of potential chauffeurs, which now includes at least one congressman’s kid.
One thing the lion’s share of Lyft drivers have in common is that they’re usually using the platform part-time, according to Thelen. The average driver spends 15 hours a week shuttling users around, clocking hours before and after a full-time job and on the weekends.