Giving a Lyft

Marshall now has another transportation option — Lyft, a rideshare service

Photo by Karin Elton Amanda Luerssen, a Lyft driver, leans against her car, which has a Lyft sticker in the back window.

MARSHALL — Did you know the Lyft car service was in Marshall?

There is, and Amanda Luerssen is behind the wheel.

“I just started last month,” she said.

She got the idea to drive when she was visiting San Diego and using Uber and Lyft services. She talked to the drivers and got a positive response from them.

“I researched it when I got home and decided to sign up,” she said.

A single mom who babysits an infant a couple days a week, she likes the flexible hours.

“You can choose your own schedule,” she said. “You download the app and can turn it on and off. You can turn it on when you are available to drive.”

To be a driver for Lyft, you agree to a background check, she said, and you have to have a valid driver’s license and have insurance. Lyft also has insurance for when there is a passenger in the car. Other rules are four doors to your vehicle, working seat belts, working radio, no issues with the car and it has to be 2004 or newer.

“Mine’s an ’07, but I’m planning on getting a new car next year,” she said.

Since this is a relatively new phenomenon in Marshall, the local laws aren’t specific, but city officials asked Luerssen to get a taxi license to operate in Marshall.

“You pay $100 every year and get your car inspected and there’s a couple of other things,” she said.

People wanting to use Lyft service in Marshall simply download the app, sign up and give credit or debit card information. A map shows if there is a Lyft driver available and how far away.

“When a passenger requests a ride, it will tell them how much the ride will cost, the driver’s name and picture, driver’s ETA and the make, model, color and license plate of the driver’s car,” Luerssen said. “This way no one can get into the wrong car if they match all the information before getting in.”

If the passenger isn’t where they said they would be, the driver can call the passenger to ask for their location. Through the Lyft app, the driver’s phone number is masked so the passenger won’t have the driver’s phone number.

Also for the driver’s protection, there is a spot on the Lyft driver app to quickly call in case of emergency.

“It will contact the closest emergency services and give the exact location,” she said.

Luerssen is a newcomer to Marshall, having moved to town just three years ago at a Marshall friend’s urging. She’s from Wisconsin originally and has also lived in Illinois and Ohio. Luerssen’s son is in second grade and attends Lynd Public School. She said the Marshall area is a great place to raise children.

She has posted her services on Facebook on the Marshall MN No Rules Garage Sale page, but so far not a lot of people know the service is available. Luerssen said there is another Lyft driver in Marshall, but doesn’t know who it is.

Luerssen travels to Sioux Falls, S.D., on weekends to earn more money. A recent ride in Sioux Falls was for a couple whose car had broken down by the side of the road and the tow truck couldn’t get to them for three hours.

She just bought two car organizers for back seat use. The pockets fit items such as tissue packets, water bottles and there is a USB port for charging a variety of electronic devices. Also in the pocket are emesis bags — disposable vomit bags — for the “late night crowd,” she said.

Luerssen said passengers don’t have to tip, but “tips are appreciated.”