Formerly limited to metro areas, ride-sharing is now coming to the countryside.
Uber challenger Lyft has opened up its operations to an additional 32 states, meaning its services will now be available in 40 states. While those eight states included 79 percent of the country’s total population, Lyft now reaches an estimated 94 percent of Americans.
Just as important as the number of states, Lyft will offer service in even the most rural of those states, including the Alaskan wilderness. The caveat is that the more remote the area, the fewer the available drivers, and thus the longer it might take to get picked up. In far flung locales, Lyft recommends scheduling a ride in advance if possible.
At least at first, Lyft might not have enough drivers to meet the demand, but a spokesperson told the Washington Post that Lyft does “improve service levels once we get into markets.”
The expansion is in line with Lyft’s announcement in January that it planned to expand into more than 100 additional cities over the course of 2017. The move is also consistent with the company’s Uber-minded ambitions, which include not only exponential growth, but technical partnerships with companies like Waymo aimed at developing self-driving cars that can be hailed at a moment’s notice.
The new states into which Lyft is expanding include 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.
-- by Aaron Miller