Spelling Hail with an “Eh”: Lyft Debuts International Efforts in Toronto

By: Ryan Gallagher November 22, 2017
Ridehailing service Lyft is moving into Toronto as a part of its first international expansion.
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While Uber is getting sued (and their drivers are combating thieves), Lyft is quietly sliding past borders in an attempt to compete internationally with the ridesharing industry’s biggest name.   

In December, Lyft will expand into Toronto, Canada’s largest city, company officials recently announced. Specifically, the ride-hailing service from San Francisco will now offer rides in the greater Toronto area, from the West Queen West neighborhood near downtown to Mississauga, southwest of the city. 

Lyft grew rapidly throughout 2017, allowing the company its first extension outside of the United States. Additionally, Lyft is in the process of receiving a $1 billion investment from Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., after adding more than 100 cities to their service just this year.

“We’ve been looking forward to taking our brand of ridesharing international for some time, and we’re super pumped to share this with our close friends up north,” Lyft officials wrote in a blog post.

However, these “friends up north” may not take kindly to Lyft’s arrival. When Uber entered the city in 2014, the company faced backlash from cab companies throughout the area. Despite it all, Uber drivers still managed to make $50 million and drove more than 34 million kilometers in Uber’s first year in the Canadian city.

As the taxi service continues to navigate uncharted territory in Toronto, Lyft’s leaders are putting much of the company’s profit on the line in order to develop a larger market share.

So far, the budding rideshare service holds a little more than 20% of the U.S. market—with some gains coming in January of this year after an online campaign called #DeleteUber resulted in 500,000 deleted Uber apps.

As Lyft tries to attract new users—and new drivers—in Toronto, the company plans to offer a 25% raise to the first 3,000 drivers who complete 200 rides per week during the company’s first three months in the city.

However the move north plays out, Lyft’s expansion solidifies the company’s plans to compete with Uber on an international level. This Toronto announcement comes at a time when Lyft may consider hiring an initial public offering (IPO) advisory firm. The move to make the company a publicly traded entity could fuel further growth.

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