Beginning at noon today, folks in Charleston can get a lift with the latest app-based car service to launch in the city, Lyft.
Passengers landing at or leaving from Charleston International Airport can also request Lyft rides beginning today. Uber also offers rides from the airport.
Lyft and Uber operate mostly the same way, with prospective riders initiating contact with a driver via a mobile app that passes along rider location information. One difference between the two services is that Lyft offers riders the ability to tip drivers while Uber does not. Charleston fare estimates aren't yet available, but comparing rides in Charlotte, Uber appears just a little cheaper than Lyft.
As much as adding Lyft to the Charleston market will create more competition with Uber and legacy taxi services for riders, it also tightens the market for potential drivers. Uber and Lyft have offered sign-on bonuses for drivers and advertise decent hourly wages. However, a driver-recruitment tool
on their website shows Lyft drivers in Charleston 'could make' $20 per hour. Like Uber, Lyft drivers are paid as contractors and use their own car, pay for their own gas, maintenance, and insurance, and are responsible for reporting their driving income for tax purposes. A Buzzfeed investigation
published yesterday looking at Uber specifically found that those expenses can make up as much as 31 percent of drivers' take-home pay.
Lyft also recently launched in Savannah
and is launching today in Richmond
, Va. as well. Save $5 off your first ride by using the code "CHUCKTOWN" in the mobile app.