What happens in a Lyft will now happen in Las Vegas, Nevada. On Monday, the Nevada Transportation Authority gave both ride-sharing startups Lyft and Uber permits to operate in Sin City.
Lyft just “turned on the switch” and is currently deploying drivers, according to Lyft spokesperson Sheila Bryson.
“From Summerlin to Henderson, East Las Vegas to the Strip, we’re offering everyone a convenient and affordable way to get around. And this is only the beginning — we look forward to bringing a ton of fun and memorable experiences to Vegas in the months ahead,” reads the Lyft blog post.
Uber is also fully operational in Vegas starting today. From Uber:
“Yesterday, we were officially permitted to operate by the State of Nevada by the Nevada Transportation Authority, and now we are live! We are excited to be a part of the Nevada community and to offer another option for people from Henderson to North Las Vegas to Reno to connect with a safe, reliable, convenient ride at the touch of a button.”
The permit to operate is a feather in the cap for both ride-hailing startups. Vegas is heavy with tourist traffic and could be a boon to more suburban residents, as well. Both companies have been working with the Nevada government for months to get the permits for that reason.
“I can tell you that driver interest has been strong,” Bryson told TechCrunch. “As has interest from locals, who rarely use taxis.”
Representatives from the taxi companies came out in opposition to the permits, arguing there could be territorial disputes and that ride-hailing services weren’t subject to the same stipulations, such as random drug testing, as cabs were.
Despite these arguments, Gov. Brian Sandoval signed a hard-won bill into law this summer, paving the way for the permits that will now allow people to summon a ride using their smartphones.