While officials will close off certain parts of downtown and elsewhere to traffic, and have already urged people to use public transit if they must commute, area car service providers say they’re prepared to accommodate demand. Here’s what four of them are doing to keep the District moving, though how much you’ll spend for their services (either due to surge pricing or the amount of time you’ll sit in traffic) remains to be seen:
Neville Waters, spokesperson for DC Taxicab Commission
"In general the vehicle for hire industry is responsive to demand. DCTC is increasing awareness around security, road closures and potential changes in demand related to the Pope’s visit. Our enforcement team will be vigilant during this time for the safety of passengers and drivers. If there is a spike in demand the dispatchers will respond. On average there are between 5,700 to 5,900 active DC taxicabs operating daily. In addition, the range during peak times daily is 2,000 to 3,000 taxis.”
Sara Pierce, marketing manager for Split
"Split, like the rest of the city, is excited and preparing for the Pope’s visit. One of the benefits of Split’s dynamic technology is that we have a unique network of pickup and dropoff points, and we can adjust our service parameters in real-time to exclude any area that is within an event zone. For example, during Pride Parade, we made sure that our drivers were routed away from P Street NW, so that our riders would have a seamless pickup and dropoff experience. Our app will exclude the areas that are closed to traffic and help riders get to where they need to be, safely and efficiently. Also, we don’t have any surge pricing, no matter the demand."
Mary Caroline Pruitt, spokesperson for Lyft
"We are in constant contact with drivers about the best times to get on the road in their city, and always make sure to alert them when big events, like the Pope’s visit, take place so that they know a high number of passengers will be needing rides. For the Pope’s visit to D.C., we’ll be sending out communications to drivers, encouraging them to get on the road and notifying them about street closures so they’re prepared for unique traffic patterns."
Taylor Bennett, spokesperson for Uber
"We’ve been preparing for weeks and working to ensure we remain as reliable as possible throughout the papal visit. We’ll be providing our driver-partners with all the necessary information and helpful tips to make sure they’re able to offer safe and convenient rides during that time."