In this Feb. 28, 2014, photo, Lyft driver Brittany Cameron drives her vehicle as she gives a ride to Jennie Morris in Denver. Ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft could be on the street in Nevada by next week.
Friday, Sept. 11, 2015 | 2 a.m.
Uber and Lyft could have drivers on Las Vegas roads Monday, putting an end to a drawn-out controversy between the new technology companies, the taxi industry and regulators.
At a meeting today, the Nevada Transportation Authority is expected to approve rules that a legislative panel signed off on last month. The authority will meet Monday to vote on the specific applications from the companies.
Lyft is “optimistic” the authority will approve its application, Chelsea Wilson, a company spokeswoman said. “Everyone wants to move forward.” By the end of next week, it expects to have hundreds of drivers on the road.
Over the past few months, both firms have sent employees to Las Vegas for their respective launches. Since Wednesday, Uber has been accepting applications from potential drivers and inspecting vehicles. Lyft is also recruiting drivers and conducting criminal background checks.
While both Uber and Lyft are eager to enter the market, the two companies will be doing so at vastly different scales. According to Andrew MacKay, chairman of the authority, Lyft is paying Nevada a $150,000 fee for a fleet of no more than 2,500 drivers in its first two years of service, while Uber is paying the state a $500,000 fee for an unlimited fleet.
“Uber definitely intends on being bigger than Lyft, at least in the short term,” he said.
The two services plan to offer similar rates. Uber will charge a base fare of $2.40 plus $1.80 per mile and a $1 safety fee plus 30 cents per minute. Lyft plans to charge a base fare of $2.40 plus $1.85 per mile and a $1.55 safety fee.
Once the state approves the operations, municipalities could set up their own rules. Clark County is considering the creation of a business license specifically for the new transportation companies. “What the respective municipalities do relative to business licenses, that’s not the NTA business,” MacKay said.
There is high demand for ride-hailing companies like Lyft in Las Vegas, said Wilson, not only on the Strip but also in suburbs like Henderson and Summerlin. “There’s a lot of need for an affordable, convenient way to get around.”