Special camouflage-patterned Lyft cars will be made available to high-ranking military officials at Fleet Fest. (Connor Hunt//Special to S.F. Examiner)

Fleet Week, Lyft to launch ‘Fleet Fest’

Despite San Francisco’s reputation as a home for peaceniks and hippies, the roar of jets at Fleet Week is a tradition here as well-known as the fog.

For 35 years, onlookers have gathered at the Marina Green and throughout The City to see a parade of naval battleships, planes and of course — the Blue Angels.

But now the old-school military pageantry is gaining a new tech twist, as Fleet Week partners with Lyft to produce the brand new “Fleet Fest.”

Garth Langley, a spokesman for SF Fleet Week, told the San Francisco Examiner they’re hoping to make Fleet Week appeal to The City’s longtime locals, as well as its new tech residents.

“We see the changing landscape in San Francisco being interested in Fleet Week,” he said.

Fleet Fest is a first-ever Fleet Week food truck festival with live music at Pier 80, which will run Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fleet Week is also partnering with Off the Grid, who are bringing Bacon Bacon, Taco Guys and a number of other truck-laden food favorites to the event.

Lyft is also inviting its drivers, who are military veterans, to enjoy free food, drinks and a special event at Fleet Fest to gather and talk shop, Lyft Chief Marketing Officer Kira Scherer Wampler told the Examiner.

High-ranking military officials will be offered rides in a specially painted camouflage-patterned Lyft van.

For all the pageantry, the heart of the partnership is Lyft’s effort to manage congestion at local events, Wampler said, much like they’ve done at sponsored San Francisco Giants games, the San Francisco Pride Parade and the multiday concert Outside Lands.

“Think about trying to park at Outside Lands,” Wampler said. These new efforts are part partnership, and part road engineering.

The need is great, she said, “We’re looking at some of the data from last year, and we had as many riders with Fleet Week as with Hardly Strictly Bluegrass.”

There is a promo code for Fleet Week Lyft discounts, and a designated drop-off point at Pier 80 for Lyft cars. And for the Fleet Week events Lyft also will cap its Prime Time pricing (much like Uber’s “surge” pricing) at 200 percent, Wampler said.

And though the Surge and Prime Time pricing are both techniques these tech-ride apps promote as enticing more drivers to hit the road, Wampler said capping Prime Time hasn’t lessened the number of drivers.

“We’ve seen extremely strong response in terms of supply,” Wampler said. “For Outside Lands I believe we had fewer than 20 unavailable sessions at peak time.”

Still, even more than its promises to tackle congestion, Langley said the partnership with Lyft was key because of its commitment to veterans.

“Lyft has a very focused effort on hiring veterans, and we see a mutual benefit as we honor our active service members and veterans [at Fleet Week],” he said.

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