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Peer-to-peer rideshare Lyft launches in DC

D.C., get ready for yet another transportation option in the District. Lyft, a real-time peer-to-peer ridesharing service, kicked off its presence in D.C. with a party at 1776 Thursday.
Co-founded by Logan Green and John Zimmer in San Francisco in 2012, Lyft is an offshoot of Zimride, a digital ridesharing community that came to be in 2007. Lyft operates via app (either iPhone or Android). Users download the app and select their pickup location. They request an available driver and get a "lyft" where they need to go. After the ride is finished, users rate drivers on the app and give them a donation for their trouble. The donations are collected through the app itself, and drivers keep about 80 percent of their take.
Lyft was founded in San Francisco and currently operates in five other cities. An influx of $60 million in Series C funding in May, led by Andreessen Horowitz, has allowed Lyft to scale. Lyft's Boston operation launched in May and marked the first East Coast location for the business; D.C. is the second East Coast city tapped for Lyft.
Lyft has been advertising for drivers on various social media channels for the past month or so. Drivers must be at least 23 years old and drive a car with a model year of 2000 or newer. They must pass various screening interviews, criminal background checks and DMV checks, and their vehicle must past inspection. Lyft also carries heftly liability insurance on its drivers--$1 million per occurrence. These factors should make users feel secure in requesting a ride from a pink-mustachioed car.
Sean Mandell, a top-tier driver for Lyft in San Francisco, has been giving riders "lyfts" for eight months. "It has been a great experience and has provided great stories, new friends and great networking," Mandell says. "[Lyft] has revolutionized transportation needs in San Francisco."
According to Lyft's blog, on July 30, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) "announced a proposed decision that supports the continued legal operation of Lyft throughout the state of California." It's not clear what legal or regulatory obstacles, if any, Lyft will face in D.C. 

Read more articles by Allyson Jacob.

Allyson Jacob is a writer originally hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the Innovation and Job News editor for Elevation DC. Her work has been featured in The Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati CityBeat. Have a tip about a small business or start-up making waves inside the Beltway? Tell her here.
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