Lyft announced offering service to passengers in every corner of 32 US states, including hard-to-reach rural areas. The move boosts the number of states with full coverage to 40.
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Even the most rural areas that have ride-hailing needs but no consistent service. Using smartphone to summon a ride mainly reserved for larger metropolitan areas with a lot of people and more potential riders.
Jaime Raczka, regional director of new markets for Lyft, said the initiative will allow the company to outmatch its rivals in terms of coverage area. The number of people with access to its platform. 79 percent of the US population could get Lyft service. With new move, that number rises to 94 percent, she said.
Lyft added about 700,000 drivers nationwide
Currently Lyft has statewide service in New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Delaware and Hawaii. As of Thursday it added Alaska, Arizona, California, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Lyft has some coverage in all 50 states. Decided to offer full coverage in the 40 that have consistent statewide ride-hailing regulations, Raczka said. Although, the company said it will even offer rides in the most rural expanses of Alaska and the far reaches of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
However, to pull off the expansion, Lyft has been recruiting new drivers for months, many in smaller towns that weren’t previously served. Moreover, the company wouldn’t say how many drivers it has added, only that it has about 700,000 nationwide.
Just how long it takes to get a ride will vary by area. She wouldn’t give an average response time or fare estimate for rural areas. But conceded that initially it may take more than 10 minutes to get a ride in remote places. Those who have important trips such as traveling to an airport to catch a flight might want to use Lyft’s scheduled ride service if it’s available, she said.
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Finally, in New York, where Lyft has had statewide service since June. The company’s app showed few cars in the Finger Lakes region. A small town near the Pennsylvania border, the closest Lyft ride was 74 miles. More than an hour away in Binghamton. Meanwhile, the app gave no estimate of a pickup time like it does in urban areas.