[image-1]Charleston residents will soon have one more option to get around as Lyft prepares to launch in the Holy City.
For almost two years, local residents have been using UberX, a very similar service to Lyft and the company’s chief competition. A Lyft official said this week that the company is “looking forward” to beginning service “in the near future.” There’s no timeline for an immediate launch, but state officials told the Post and Courier that the company filed necessary paperwork with the Office of Regulatory Staff on June 13.
Competition between Lyft and Uber has been stiff in other cities, but you’ve probably heard more about Uber’s quick expansion. The ride-hailing giant just took a $3.5 billion investment from the nation of Saudi Arabia as it expands overseas, and is estimated to be valued at over $60 billion. In keeping with its founder Travis Kalanick’s anti-authority leanings, Uber has barreled into cities across the country and turned on service before local governments had a chance to work through regulatory questions. On the flip-side, Lyft has taken what Reuters called a “nice-guy” approach befitting of the pink moustaches that once adorned drivers’ cars. (Don’t worry, those have been trimmed.) Kalanick and Lyft officials do have reason to play hardball, though. Both companies recently shut down in Austin, Texas after voters rejected a referendum that would have made the services regulated differently than taxis.
In addition to jockeying for riders, Uber and Lyft have also been in tight competition for drivers. There have even been reports of recruiters getting a ride with the competition and trying to ply drivers with incentives to switch on the spot.