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Lyft drives into Richmond passenger transportation scene

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RICHMOND, Va. — As local taxi companies fend off Uber’s moves around Richmond, another Silicon Valley-based ride-hailing company has merged onto the scene.

Lyft, Uber’s main app-based rival, will begin operations in Richmond today.

When the company officially launches locally at noon, Richmonders with smartphones will be able to use the Lyft app to get rides around town or sign up to become drivers.

Known for its pink mustache logo, Lyft joins Uber as the only other so-called transportation network company operating in Richmond. The TNC designation was created by the Virginia DMV in an attempt to regulate Uber and Lyft upon their bumpy entry into Virginia in 2014, during which they butted heads with the state about their right to operate here. The controversy led to state legislation regulating the companies.

Lyft’s entry comes two years after Uber got rolling in Richmond. The presence of ride-hailing services has raised the ire of area taxi companies, which have called for more regulations for TNCs.

Before Richmond, Lyft launched in Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk and Virginia Beach. In Virginia, Lyft also operates in Alexandria, Arlington and Tysons Corner.

Lyft spokesperson Mary Caroline Pruitt said local excitement for Lyft prompted the company to begin operations in Richmond – an arrival that comes two years after Uber got in gear in the area.

“We’ve been focused on growth and rapidly expanding over the last year,” Pruitt said in an email. “The transportation industry is a $2 trillion industry, and there is room for multiple services.”

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