Lyft expands to Lima area


LIMA — A popular ride-sharing company has extended its coverage area into the Lima region as part of a massive expansion that will provide more transportation options to Ohio residents throughout the state.

Lyft, a San Francisco-based transportation network known for the pink mustaches drivers attach to their cars, has expanded its Toledo market to include Lima and several other cities in northwest Ohio.

According to Lyft’s coverage map, the service is accessible in all of Allen County, as well as Putnam, Hancock and Van Wert counties. The service is also available in the northern half of Auglaize, Hardin and Mercer counties, which means riders in Cridersville, Kenton and Rockford are all covered.

For those who live further south, the Dayton market has also been extended to all of Logan and Shelby counties, as well as the southern half of Auglaize, Hardin and Mercer counties. This means that riders in Bellefontaine, Celina, Lakeview, St. Marys and Wapakoneta will have access to the service through the Dayton market.

Even though the region is considered a part of larger markets, anyone within these coverage areas may sign up to be a driver. So far, at least one person in the region has signed up.

Lima resident Nate Swaney started driving on Sept. 1. The 30 year old said he wanted to earn extra income, and he hoped that more people would follow his lead.

“I really wanted the service in the area so that it’s available for me to use later,” said Swaney, who has utilized the service as a passenger when traveling to larger cities. “To my knowledge, I’m the only one registered and out driving because every time I log into the app I never see any other available drivers out there.

“I have a feeling once there’s a few more drivers out there and it’s available around the clock like in bigger cities, it’ll be utilized more heavily.”

Swaney said he found success almost immediately. During his first weekend of driving, he picked up between 30 and 35 people in the Lima area.

“There’s definitely a need for this,” he said. “Everybody I picked up from the Lima area was ecstatic to know Lyft was in town and that there was another option other than cab companies.”

Swaney said the service is especially popular among the Millennial generation, which encompasses anyone who was born in the early 1980s to the early 2000s.

“I think the younger crowd wants more options,” he said. “A lot of people aren’t pleased with cab companies around here, and they want another way to get around. I think the younger generation wants a more personalized experience that Lyft provides.”

Lyft’s expansion into the Lima area came around the same time another ride-sharing service announced its entrance into the city. A company called Liberty Mobility Now announced Wednesday it has a partnership with the city of Lima to provide an independent, contractor-based transportation service that is similar to Lyft. The service launched in February in Van Wert County, and will soon expand to Allen County.

With another ride-sharing company, Change Transportation, bringing its service to the Lima area earlier this year, Lyft becomes the third company of its kind to launch in the region in 2017. Prior to this year, ride-sharing was unavailable in the city.