As thousands of revelers pour out of downtown bars and nightclubs around 2 a.m., drivers of taxis, Uber and Lyft also swarm the area looking for patrons trying to get home after a night of partying.
Paired with road closures, traffic flow often slows to a crowded, congested mess.
So now Orlando officials — along with Uber and Lyft — are preparing a pair of ride-sharing hubs: well-lit areas with public restrooms, security and food options, where Uber and Lyft users will be directed at night’s end. Food trucks and vendors may also gather there, a news release said. They’ll open this spring, though no exact start date was available.
The two spaces are planned at Magnolia Avenue near Heritage Square and Gertrude Avenue near Jefferson and Washington streets east of Interstate 4.
Each hub will have special pick-up lanes in hopes of speeding up people exiting downtown and will operate Fridays and Saturdays from midnight until 3 a.m.
Through their apps, both Uber and Lyft will direct drivers and passengers to the nearest hub, the release said.
The concept isn’t strictly unique to Orlando. Fort Lauderdale operates three rideshare zones on Las Olas Boulevard and the Himmarshee District. The zones are for Uber, Lyft, taxis and private vehicles dropping off or picking up customers, and are allowed no more than five minutes to leave the zone.
Throughout Orlando’s six-month test, officials will be seeking feedback, as well as seeing how easily people gather at the spots.
“These new Rideshare Hubs will help us ensure our down continues to offer world-class city amenities that further support our nighttime economy,” Mayor Buddy Dyer said in a statement.