Franklin sets rideshare drop-off, pick-up locations for Pilgrimage Festival

WSMV4 goes to the Pilgrimage Fest to find out the best places for you and your family to drive at the event!
Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 7:27 PM CDT
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FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WSMV) - Thousands of people will be heading to Franklin this weekend for the Pilgrimage Festival but getting people to the gates has been a challenge for rideshare drivers in the past.

Jessica Brown has been a Lyft driver for six years and said it has taken her more than an hour to reach passengers trying to leave the festival grounds. It can be even worse with people coming from out of town that don’t know the area and road closures.

“We’ve got someone in cue waiting and they don’t understand why the wait is,” Brown said. “They yell at us, but we are getting there as fast as we can. The officers that are there as traffic control will be like, ‘You don’t know where you are going.’ Well, there is no signage, so we don’t know where we are going. The only thing we’re hooked to is a GPS with an address.”

Brown said many rideshare drivers from as far away as Alabama and Arkansas will come to the area this weekend hoping to make a lot of money from shuttling festival goers around, but that can create challenges with many one-way streets and areas they are not allowed to drive near the festival grounds.

Pilgrimage Festival organizers are trying to fix that problem this year by working with Franklin Police to add designated rideshare pick-up and drop-off locations. The closest one will be at the Co-op on Eddy Lane with two others in downtown Franklin.

“We have it in those locations so we can keep the congestion out of this area,” Franklin Police Deputy Chief J.P. Taylor said. “We are not having vehicles stop in front of the festival causing cars to back up. We locate them outside of the area, still in a good distance that you can walk to the festival but so it doesn’t cause an issue with the traffic.”

The problem is those locations are at least a mile away from the festival and none are specifically marked on festival maps. It could take more than 15 minutes for people to walk from the rideshare point at Bicentennial Park to the main entrance.

Brown said rideshare drivers had not been able to get information about the new locations and the geofence that will be used to prevent people from requesting rides on apps in any area closer to the festival grounds than the designated locations.

“Once the people on site say, ‘You need to be over here before you call your ride, go that way,’ that will eventually filter out to the people,” Brown said. “Now that I know when I drop people off, I can say, ‘make sure you come back to this place before you call your ride.’ Now that we know, we can help communicate that.”

Officials spent Thursday afternoon inspecting new sidewalks that will be used by thousands of people this weekend. There are also signs already posted directing people to parking lots along with the new rideshare locations. Those signs are designed to cut down on traffic congestion.

Taylor said it is all to make sure people have a fun time before, during and after seeing some of their favorite artists take the stage. They are asking for people to avoid the festival area unless they h ave a ticket or live in the area to help further reduce traffic congestion.

“I’m sure they’ll be able to get it just fine at the locations that we’ve pinpointed,” Taylor said. “We do ask that if they do drink, do not drive. Come to have a good time, but make sure you are responsible as well.”