Uber now offering free rides in Richmond
RICHMOND, Va. — After a bumpy start in Virginia, Uber has arrived in Richmond.
The San Francisco-based company that uses a smart phone app to connect people who need a ride with nearby drivers that use their own cars began operating in the Richmond market on Wednesday.
Its first day of business in Richmond coincided with an announcement from the governor’s office of a temporary agreement that will allow Uber and rival ridesharing company Lyft to operate legally in Virginia.
The companies had been ordered to halt operations in the state in June over questions of how to regulate them. Uber argued at the time that the state’s regulations were outdated.
On Wednesday evening Uber held an event to register and hand out phones to drivers at the Holiday Inn at 2000 Staples Mill Road. Another phone and registration session is scheduled for tonight at the Courtyard Richmond on West Broad Street.
The company plans to launch in Richmond with a “handful” of drivers, but would not give a specific number. Rides will be free during the first two weeks of Uber’s Richmond operations.
Lyft, also based in San Francisco, said Wednesday it had not made any plans to begin operating in Richmond.
Using the Uber app, a would-be passenger can look up drivers nearby and request the one of their choice. Drivers use their own vehicles and carry an Uber-issued phone. Pricing depends upon geographic location, demand and supply.