Friday, December 07, 2018

Either Crain's New York Business and Ad Age are suffering from a mutual typo, or Lyft is about to rip off Brooklynites big time — and Crain's missed it. Also big time.

6 munths ago we cudint even spel editur
and today we are wun!

Hey, Ann-Christine Diaz of Advertising Age, Crain's New York Business, and other Crain's publications: I suspect you've messed up, big time.

It all has to do with an oh-so-adorable story that appeared in various Crain's trade publications like this one today, Friday, December 7th. Pearl Harbor Day if you will.

It’s about an alleged sympathy gesture that Lyft is making to the inhabitants of two Brooklyn, NY neighborhoods, Williamsburg and Bushwick, where the high priests of the Metropolitan Transit Authority are about to halt L-train subway service for over a year (betcha it turns out to be even more than that) while they catch up on, oh, roughly a century's worth of deferred maintenance.

Y'see, Lyft recently bought the Citi Bike franchise that enables New Yorkers to rent a bicycle from automated stands at various points around the city for commutes of 45 minutes or less. And then to leave them off at other stands. Now Lyft wants to offer the subway-deprived Brooklynites a deal. Oh, what a deal! Or so you might be led to believe.

Ann-Christine Diaz wrote:
Ride sharing platform Lyft is showing its support for the soon-to-be trainless city-dwellers with an outdoor campaign running [in] Williamsburg and Bushwick that cheekily drops all the l’s from its logo and copy, featuring lines like “Stay ca m. We wi  get through this together,” “ ove where you ive,” and “ ong ive Brook yn.”
The campaign, created in-house, is titled "Something's Missing.”
So far, so cheeky. But then Ms. Diaz’s piece went on to tell us that the campaign…
…directs Brooklyn residents to a dedicated site,, where Lyft has outlined the various solutions it’s put together to help prepare them for the future service disruptions. 
Among them are Lyft’s partnership with New York City to triple the size of Citi Bike, which the company recently acquired; an all-access plan that allows New Yorkers to pay $169 for 30 rides over 30 days…

Umm, there’s one small problem. At least as of 6:30 p.m. this evening when I last checked the Citi Bike website, you could get a whole year’s worth of unlimited bike rentals for $169, or $14.99 a month. So, if Ann-Christine Diaz has her facts right, Lyft is about to charge for 30 days what they used to charge for a whole year.

In other words, what’s really cheeky, assuming this isn’t a typo or reporting error of major proportions, spread over multiple Crain’s publications, is that Lyft is about to gouge the living beejesus out of hapless Brooklynites, who really have precious few options for getting to work for the next 15 months or longer while the L-train is out of service. It's an epic ripoff that the Visigoths might have envied even while they were sacking Rome.

I figured that before I wrote anything about this, I’d get in touch with Ms. Diaz and tip her off that she either has committed an error of massive proportions, or if not, she ought to recognize a major scandal when it bites her on the ass.

Alas, neither the Ad Age website nor the Crain’s New York Business website had e-mail or telephone contact information for Ann-Christine Diaz that I could find. I mean, God forbid that a journal should publish a way that  people with potentially useful information about an epic scandal on its beat can clue in the people who write and edit for them.  

I went to Linked-In, where I could send Ms. Diaz a message if I pretended to be interested in linking to her. But before I could explain the problem with any clarity, Linked-In cut me off for using too many words.

I suppose I could get on the phone Monday, start calling around to the various Crain’s offices, and blow half or day or more in the hope that Ann-Marie would be there and take my call. But charity for pathetic journalism has its limits.

So screw it. And somebody bring that lady a strong cup of black coffee. I suspect she’s doing her job with her eyes shut.

Oh yes, one more thing. If the Crain’s article is correct as far as it went, Lyft should be elevated to the pantheon of price-gougers who rip off the needy — along with Martin Shkreli and other conscience-less profiteers about whom I’ve written in this space in the recent past.

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