Lyft and Uber, similar models both serving Richmond now

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RICHMOND, Va. – The transportation company Lyft launched in Richmond this week.

This is the first weekend it’s available in the city. People with smartphones can use the app to request a ride.

Lyft is the second transportation network company in Richmond. Uber has operated in the area for two years.

“There was already that demand here, and Richmond needs more options on how to get around town,” said Jay Rogers.

Rogers is one of the first Lyft drivers in Richmond.

Uber and Lyft

“It’s just like your friend picking you up and getting you where you need to go, and I just really enjoy it; especially on the weekends,” he said.

CBS 6 compared the cost of Lyft and Uber. The cost per minute and per mile are within two cents of each other. The base fare and cancellation fee are the same.

“When I looked at doing Lyft I looked at it like a business owner, and to me it made more sense than some of the other things I could do because, one the customers can tip you,” Rogers said. “I don’t ever have to bring it up. It's all done through the app. No cash is exchanged.”

Uber doesn’t encourage tips. Nothing can stop a passenger from offering cash, but the app does not provide a streamlined way to tip.

CBS 6 spoke to Mary Caroline Pruitt, who is responsible for Communications at Lyft. She gave us the following response when asked about safety.

"Per our safety conversations earlier... all Richmond Lyft drivers must go through our strict safety screening process which includes rigorous background checks, which you can read more about on our safety page here, and including more details below."

• Safety is Lyft's top priority. All drivers who apply to drive on the Lyft platform undergo a criminal background check, a driving record check, a vehicle inspection and an in-person screening. We use a third-party expert, Sterling Backcheck, to conduct the criminal background check which includes a query of local, state and federal databases.

• Lyft also provides in-app photos of the driver and vehicle, real-time ride tracking, digital receipts, two-way rating systems, an around-the-clock Trust and Safety team, and professionally administered criminal background checks. This means consumers can provide immediate feedback on their experience and know that a Lyft team member is always available to respond to any questions or concerns. The benefits for passengers are clear.

• Our Trust & Safety team is available 24/7 for emergencies and a dedicated Critical Response Line to reach specially trained experts on the phone.

• In any safety-related incident, we put the participants' accounts on hold as we collect further details, reach out to all parties involved to offer support, and are available to assist law enforcement.

• We have a strict zero-tolerance policy and any behavior threatening the safety or comfort of a community member is not tolerated.

Safety page is here. 

We also reached out to Uber. As of Friday evening, we have not received a response to our email request.

The Uber safety page is available on their website.