The ridesharing app Lyft announced it will begin service in Charleston Thursday, following Uber as just the second transportation network service to operate in South Carolina.
Starting at noon Thursday, customers will be able to request cab rides through the Lyft app. The announcement comes just two days after the San Francisco-based company received a state permit to begin operating as a transportation network company.
Company spokeswoman Mary Caroline Pruitt said Lyft has been eyeing Charleston for some time. “We’ve definitely always wanted to be in Charleston, which is one of the reasons we’re so excited to launch there,” she told South Carolina Radio Network. “Many locals have voiced wanting Lyft to come to Charleston and wanting more affordable, safe ride options.”
Lyft, which started up in 2012, has emerged nationwide as the biggest competitor to the ridesharing app Uber. Lyft operates in more than 200 cities and towns nationwide, Pruitt said. That includes the Charlotte and Raleigh/Durham markets in North Carolina and much of the Atlanta metro area and Savannah markets in Georgia. The car’s vehicles are easily recognized by a pink glowing mustache located on their windshields.
Pruitt said the company plans to only operate in Charleston and at the Charleston International Airport for now, but does hope to expand to eventually expand to other South Carolina cities. All rides must originate either at the airport or within city limits, but can transport passengers outside Charleston.
State regulators gave the go-ahead to Uber last year as the state’s first transportation network app after legislators changed South Carolina law and allowed the company’s drivers to pick up customers with fewer regulations than traditional taxi companies.
Lyft plans to offer a special $5 discount for first-time passengers in Charleston. Pruitt said new passengers can use the code “Chucktown” to receive the discount.