COLUMBIA - Lyft is now available all throughout Missouri - including its most rural areas.
Thursday, the ride sharing service announced it would be expanding its coverage statewide in 32 more states across the nation.
In April of this year, Gov. Eric Greitens signed a law that allowed Lyft to operate in the Columbia area. Now, the app will extend south of towns like Eldon, Clinton and Owensville.
Jaime Raczka, Lyft’s regional director of new markets, told the Associated Press that riders in more remote places could still have to wait longer than 10 minutes for the service.
Local Lyft driver David Todd said while he thinks the expansion is positive, he expressed the same sentiment as Raczka.
“If you’re in a sparsely populated area and you request a ride, there might not be one nearby,” Todd said.
However, despite any obstacles, Gartner analyst Michael Ramsey told the Associated Press there is a clear market for ride share apps in rural areas.
“There are a lot of people who need mobility, and especially in rural communities, don’t have access to it,” Ramsey said.
In a previous interview with KOMU 8 News, Jerry Dowell, Columbia City of Commerce government affairs director, said Lyft’s arrival in Columbia could register more jobs locally.
“I think it’s going to give people an opportunity to make some extra money,” Dowell said.
Those same opportunities could now stretch into every other city in Missouri with Lyft’s expansion.
“It should be good for the communities, you know, because it boosts commerce,” Todd said. “More cash flow - it’s a service that wasn’t available prior.”
The largest Missouri city Lyft will reach is eastward into St. Louis.