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New rideshare services launch in Twin Cities as Uber, Lyft appear poised to leave

New rideshare service launches in Minneapolis, as Uber, Lyft threaten to leave
New rideshare service launches in Minneapolis, as Uber, Lyft threaten to leave 01:33

MINNEAPOLIS — With just 45 days to go until Uber and Lyft plan to leave Minnesota, other rideshare companies are already rolling in with intentions of picking up the slack.

Even before the tentative exit of Uber and Lyft when the new driver-pay law takes effect on July 1, Minneapolis rideshare users already have two new options. 

Wridz, a Texas-based company, runs off a subscription model with drivers paying a monthly fee and earning 100% of their fares. By next week, founder and CEO Steve Wright hopes they will have onboarded 1,000 drivers. 

"We just officially went live in Minneapolis yesterday, we've actually started taking trips," Wright said. "We're not afraid of the minimum wage, in fact we embrace it. I think it's a good thing for drivers to get a fair pay."

At the same time, a new company called MyWeels is also rolling into the Twin Cities market. They started offering rides at the beginning of May and hope to have 200 drivers by mid-June. 

"We are here, we're going to be here, all the ownership is local ownership," MyWeels Chief Executive Officer Elam Baer said. "Putting on a large number of drivers, building your app and getting your systems in place in a short period of time is a challenge."

Despite the new companies, some in the metro area said they hope a deal is reached that will keep Uber and Lyft in operation in the metro area and state, at the same time as they acknowledged that more competition could have a silver lining.

"I hope (Uber and Lyft) don't leave. It's something people around here use all the time, especially in this neighborhood," said North Loop resident Sam Hinh. "I think at first it will be confusing, but it's a two-company monopoly right now, so having more I think will be beneficial."

Lawmakers have just a few days to negotiate pay and protections before the session ends, something Gov. Tim Walz urged them to do.

"Get everybody at the table, don't exclude some folks, come back in and reach a compromise," Walz said Thursday.

Both Wridz and MyWeels say they hope to get licensed in St. Paul and at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport soon.

"It would be great to have (Uber and Lyft) stay just for everyone's personal lives, like they've been a huge help in our generation for sure," Tyla Steensma said.

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