Photos by Hal Yeager, Governor’s Office
In September of 2017, Alabama was one of only six states in the U.S. without statewide ridesharing legislation. Ridesharing giant Lyft wasn’t satisfied with “almost,” though, so they enlisted Big’s proven public affairs team to put the pedal to the metal here in the Heart of Dixie.
It wasn’t as simple as putting butts in car seats, though; this plan had to pass the Alabama State Senate and House, where a similar bill had just failed. So we aligned with Lyft and Montgomery-based lobbyist firm Fine Geddie & Associates to create a statewide coalition of third parties to educate legislators and the public on the many benefits of a statewide ridesharing network. The ultimate goal? Present a bill during the January 2018 Alabama Legislative Session and get it all the way passed.
To start, the coalition needed a name, an online presence, and a digital community. “Ride For Alabama” was born, launched, and galvanized all in a matter of weeks, including a Big-designed coalition website, an educational video, various social assets, and a complementary one-sheeter that was distributed to both House and Senate members prior to voting. Additionally, we put together a media tour and a coalition kickoff event (featuring a key address from Governor Kay Ivey herself) to generate coverage and introduce ridesharing representatives to influential reporters. The result? More than eight million media impressions statewide—and a very big win for the Ridesharing Bill.
According to the testimony of John Horton, public affairs representative at Lyft, we passed their challenge with flying (or maybe driving?) colors: “This bill was previously attempted to be run in Alabama the previous legislative session. It failed. It did not make it to the Senate. Once we hired Big, we were able to file the bill, pass it out of both chambers—28-0 in the Senate, 97-3 in the House—and signed on the Governor’s desk within 11 days, which is a new record for us as a company as far as how quickly we are able to move legislation through a state capital.”
In fact, Lyft was so pleased with our work here at home that they brought us on board to get a statewide ridesharing bill passed in our neighboring state of Louisiana. And we have to say, after the big win in Alabama, we like our chances.