Lyft’s Launch in Des Moines Has Some Uber Drivers Excited

DES MOINES, Iowa - There's a new ride-sharing service in town, and Uber driver Casey Simpson is all over it.

"I would happily shut off Uber completely, and go to Lyft," Simpson said.

Simpson started driving for Uber in October of 2016. When Uber's major competitor, Lyft, launched in Des Moines Thursday, he signed up for that, too.

"Most of us have been chomping at the bit for Lyft to get into town, they've been talking about it for the last three months," he said. "We've been just waiting for them to do it, and they finally did it last Thursday. A lot of us are just really interested in seeing what Lyft will do for us."

Simpson says it wasn't good that Uber had a monopoly on the ride-sharing market here in Des Moines; as costs increased, he says pay did not for Uber drivers, leading many like Simpson to desire an alternative.

"Uber has been cutting rates, they came out with a new upfront pricing, which in effect raised rates, without paying the drivers more," he said. "They also have just recently given themselves a 25% raise on the booking fee, raising it from $1.60 to $1.95. It's just, over and over, they keep raising the money they take out of our pockets, but then they don't give us anymore."

But for the time being, he'll remain a driver for both services. Since drivers are considered independent contractors, they can work for the two companies without a conflict. Since Lyft is so new to Des Moines, Simpson says the app doesn't have the clientele just yet to make him any money. But with some recent political controversies surrounding Uber, prompting some across the nation to boycott the app, Simpson thinks now is the right time for Lyft to take a crack at the market.

"It's to the point that we really just want to try something else," he said.