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Ridesharing comes to the Gila Valley

SAFFORD — Need a ride across town or further? There’s now a ridesharing option in Graham County.

Lyft is now available locally.

Casey Meisner, a 21-year-old who lives in Safford, said she loves the fact that ridesharing is finally here in the Gila Valley.

“I think it would be very beneficial to everyone here because it provides jobs and transportation for people who can’t drive. Plus, it’s safe and affordable. I would definitely recommend using Lyft. I feel more comfortable and safer in a Lyft because it’s not an overused old taxi. It’s someone’s clean and reliable car that has been safety approved by a Lyft facility.”

Local Lyft driver Ivan Church has been serving the Gila Valley for more than a month now and is looking forward to Lyft becoming more popular here in Eastern Arizona.

“I (saw) a sign that Lyft is in the area and thought, ‘Wow, that’s great.’ So, I looked up Lyft on my phone and it said, ‘Do you want to be a Lyft driver in your area?’ And I said, ‘Hey, why not?’ and then I applied and went the process. There is one other taxi service in the area, but Lyft is the only online taxi service in the area,” Church said.

Lyft is based out of San Francisco and has been around since June 2012. It’s offered in 640 cities in the United States and nine cities in Canada.

To request a Lyft ride, download the app on a smartphone with Google Play or the App Store on Apple and then create an account. The Lyft app sets the requestor up with a local Lyft driver and fees are paid through the app.

“Many people around here don’t realize that Lyft is out here and are not used to using the app,” Church said. “Lyft, compared to a taxi, has many differences — a taxi, they start the meter as soon as you get in, and the meter runs until you get out of the taxi; and they charge not only by the distance traveled but the time as well.

“A Lyft is charged by distance traveled from point ‘A’ to point ‘B,’ ” he continued. “A Lyft is a lot easier to use compared to a taxi. I decided to go with Lyft over driving my own business due to the fact that Lyft does a background check and more, which shows that you will be driving with someone safe.”

The Lyft background check includes screening applicants for criminal charges as well as driving infractions. All drivers must be at least 21 years old and have a valid driver’s license for at least one year.

Once a ride is requested, the app shows the driver’s name, ratings and photos of the driver and the vehicle. In addition, the app shows the price of the ride before the rider confirms.

To get more information on Lyft — or to apply to drive — go to lyft.com. Church can be contacted at 928-322-8054.