by Alisha Green

Ride-hailing company Lyft added former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett to its board, touting her experience working on urban transportation issues.

Jarrett will be Lyft’s ninth board member. She was senior adviser to former President Barack Obama and assistant to the president for public engagement and intergovernmental affairs. She also brings experience as commissioner of planning and development in Chicago and chairwoman of the Chicago Transit Board.

“For months, we’ve been looking to add new skills sets, experience, and perspective to our board. And we couldn’t have found a better partner than Valerie, an incredibly influential and respected businesswoman and civic leader,” Lyft said in a blog post Monday.

Jarrett said in a statement that she is a “frequent Lyft passenger” and shares Lyft’s belief “that reliable, affordable transportation positively impacts social mobility, and improves the quality of life in densely populated communities.”

Lyft co-founder and CEO Logan Green in a statement also cited Jarrett as a key partner for work on reshaping cities and reducing congestion.

Lyft continues to tout its growth while its main competitor, fellow San Francisco-based company Uber Technologies Inc., grapples with filling its empty CEO role and the fallout from months of tumult.

Lyft said Monday that it is having “a tremendous year,” with more rides already in 2017 than in all of 2016.

Earlier this month, Lyft said it had started developing autonomous vehicle technology in a new Palo Alto office, with 10 percent of its engineers are already dedicated to the effort. That move adds to Lyft’s competition with Uber’s own self-driving vehicle efforts, which are embroiled in an ongoing legal battle with Google’s Waymo.

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