The ride-hailing service Lyft is rolling into rural corners of South Carolina, marking an ambitious experiment of city-driven technology in the sparsely populated countryside. Lyft announced Thursday that users anywhere in the state can request a car through its app, expanding far beyond its base of operations in cities like Charleston, where it arrived last year.
As yet unclear is whether passengers will take up the service, and whether drivers will log on to accommodate them. With the expansion that began last week, the service now covers the entirety of 40 states, including the bulk of the Southeast.
Lyft and its larger competitor, Uber, have tussled for market share in South Carolina through much of the year, but until recently, they’ve been limited to areas like Columbia, Greenville and Myrtle Beach, where they can rely on a critical mass of passengers.
Easing the expansion is a state law, approved in 2015, that requires only one permit to cover the entirety of South Carolina.
“Our goal has always been to create better transportation, decrease the amount of cars and traffic on the road, and bring safe and affordable rides to the entire country,” Jaime Raczka, Lyft’s regional director for new markets, said in a statement. “Through this expansion, we are one step closer to delivering on that mission.”
For its part, Uber has likewise begun reaching past the state’s main metropolitan areas, saying it operates in half of South Carolina’s 46 counties, including rural areas like Marion and McCormick.
- Lyft and Uber are also going for rural markets.