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Ride-sharing operations to come to rural South Dakota

YANKTON (AP) -- A city in southern South Dakota will be getting its own ride-sharing operation aimed at rural communities, to the dismay of existing taxi companies.

YANKTON (AP) - A city in southern South Dakota will be getting its own ride-sharing operation aimed at rural communities, to the dismay of existing taxi companies.

The Yankton Press and Dakotan reports that Tuesday the Yankton Area Progressive Growth's board of directors agreed to pay ride-sharing company Liberty Mobility $25,000 to help get started in the area.

Liberty Mobility is similar to ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft, where rides can be booked through an app or call center, but focuses on operating in rural areas.

"The company's technology is optimized to work in small urban and rural communities where cell signals may be quite poor," said Yankton city commissioner Nathan Johnson.

Johnson said he hopes the service will put the city on the cutting edge of transportation and help residents be more mobile.

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Some taxi cab companies feel the city is too small to support a ride-share program and existing cab companies.

"When they come in, where are they going to get this customer base at, because they're going to pull customers away from us and we're going to fail," said Shawna Fiechuk, co-owner of Yankton Affordable Taxi Cab Co.

Launch of Liberty in Yankton is expected within the next 90 days.

The service will have one full-time employee in the region to manage drivers. A ride of up to four miles will cost $5.25 no matter how many people are in the vehicle. After that, it is $1 per mile.

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