Lyft Expands Across US As Uber Upheaval Presents Opportunities

On Thursday, Lyft made a big expansion move by announcing that it is adding coverage to 32 states, bringing its total to 40.

Things have been changing this year for No. 2 Lyft, which had been in rate wars with Uber in key markets to grab share from the ride-hailing giant. With controversies and in-fighting sending Uber sideways starting earlier this year, Lyft has been quietly and consistently advancing its presence.

It’s been in the works long before a damaging sexual harassment charge, executive turnovers, and an intellectual property theft court case by Waymo, became visible for Uber.

Lyft’s ride-hailing market share has been growing at double the rate of Uber for the past couple years. Share has gone from 12 percent to over 30 percent in the U.S., according to the company’s internal metrics.

The company has upped its presence this week by 160 more cities, bringing the total to about 350 markets served, reports the Detroit News.

It has been able to bring over ex-Uber riders and drivers. Upgrading its smartphone app and launching a new marketing campaign has helped, as well.

Lyft is being taken much more seriously this year – after having initially being seen as a small Uber-like startup with its pink mustache image. Now, ridership is growing and other companies take Lyft very seriously – such as General Motors investing in the company last year to expand its mobility and autonomous ride services.

Co-founders Logan Green and John Zimmer, 33, have been at the polar opposite to Uber’s Travis Kalanick, the founder and CEO ousted in June. Green and Zimmer merely ask their employees and independent contractor drivers to treat passengers like guests at a hotel.

Kalanick has been known as an obstinate fighter.

While avoiding focusing on Uber in interviews, they do acknowledge the ride-hailing brand’s significance – and the impact the company’s turmoil is having on the market.

“As we get service levels to parity and pickup times are equal, people prefer using Lyft,” Green said in a recent interview at the company’s San Francisco headquarters.

“They like that we treat our drivers better. They like that we treat our customers better. And they like that we have a brand that sort of stands for taking care of people, where Uber has done a lot to build the opposite type of brand,” he said.

Uber won’t be going away anytime soon. This week, Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi came on board as chief executive while key shareholder and its board of directors implement a corporate transformation.

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Uber has raised about $14 billion in capital since its startup, compared with Lyft’s $2.6 billion.

Lyft delivers rides in the millions per year and only in the U.S., while Uber delivers about 10 million trips per day worldwide.

Cleaning house continues at Uber. This week, the company agree to stop tracing people after their rides end to respect privacy concerns.

The ride-hailing giant fired 20 employees after a report was filed by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. The study found the workplace environment to be chaotic and advised the board to bring stability back.

Uber’s image has been severely tarnished this year and is undergoing a face lift. Investors don’t want to lose the value of the Uber brands and dominant presence in shared rides.

The Detroit News

 


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