With a tap of a finger, new apps allow users to easily hail a ride from local drivers. These new ride share programs are popular in major cities, but none have clear plans for South Dakota.
This year South Dakota lawmakers gave a green light to Uber and other ride share companies who want to operate in the state. A new law that paves the way for ride share apps in South Dakota takes effect July 1st. But so far no major companies have announced definite plans to set up shop here.
Mark Willadsen is a member of the State House of Representatives. He supported pro ride share legislation this session. Willadsen says he worked with Sioux Falls to change insurance laws previously preventing rideshare programs from functioning. Willadsen is a full-time insurance agent, and he says most people don’t think about the issue of insurance when it comes to companies like Uber and Lyft.
“There’s some key things that have to go into play so that if during the course of that ride there’s an accident, and somebody’s injured or worse, we know what insurance is going to pay and who’s going to be responsible for what, so that’s what the bulk of the bill dealt with,” says Willadsen.
Willadsen expects similar ride share companies to express more interest in South Dakota communities once a major company like Uber establishes itself in Sioux Falls.
Rex Rolfing is a city council member in Sioux Falls. He says the city has been in contact with Uber since the legislative bill began, but doesn’t know when the company plans to begin operations. Rolfing looks forward to the many benefits of ride share programs for the city and state.
“It is very convenient for people to be able to use their iPhone to hail a cab. It will be a good thing for many people in downtown Sioux Falls, especially when they are looking for rides home after perhaps having too much to drink," says Rolfing.
Carla Jacobs with Uber say they have only expressed interest in coming to Sioux Falls, but currently do not have a specific timeline. Paige Thelen with ride share company Lyft has not yet expressed any plans for launching in South Dakota.