Livingston County residents in need of a lift can now get one courtesy of an online ride-sharing service.

The San Francisco-based transportation company Lyft now includes most of Livingston County in its coverage area, including Brighton, Fowlerville, Hartland Township, Howell and Pinckney. Users of the Lyft app on their smartphones can request a ride from local drivers, who sign up through the company to use their vehicles along the lines of a taxi service. The addition of the service is good news to local officials. Jessica Lienhardt is a management assistant for the City of Brighton and believes it will be a boost with all of the new hotels being built. "Lyft will add a transportation option in Brighton that will be utilized by residents and visitors. Lyft provides a safe and convenient option for bar patrons and will improve mobility for hotel customers. With Livingston County's limited public transportation options, Lyft is also available for people without personal vehicles or who are unable to operate a vehicle. The city hopes to see services like Lyft increase in availability and reliability."

But not everyone is a fan. John Taylor is the owner of The Blue Car taxi service, which is based in Milford, but serves the Livingston County area. He says smaller cities such like Howell and Brighton don’t have the traffic needed to make a service like Lyft workable. He says they’ve already been called by Lyft customers who were stranded after ordering a ride from the service, which never appeared. Taylor says there simply aren’t enough Lyft drivers in the area to make it worthwhile. He also questions whether all of those driving for ride-sharing services have the proper insurance. Taylor says by his calculations, the money needed to pay the premiums on the required $1.5 million liability policy would be much more than what they could potentially earn from local fares. (JK)