Ride hailing service Lyft is set to launch in Toronto in December, according to an announcement posted Monday morning on the company’s blog.
Lyft’s expansion into Toronto represents the San Francisco-based company’s first international venture.
Uber, Lyft’s main competitor, first launched its cab hailing service in Toronto in 2012 and partnered with municipally-licensed taxi and limousine drivers to pick off and drop off passengers.
In 2014, the company introduced UberX to the city and left the taxi partnership model behind. The service initially sparked public safety concerns due to the low bar of qualifications that the service required its drivers to pass: to get hired, drivers only had to be over the age of 21 and have a license, pass a background check, and own an insured car that was less than 10 years old.
The company invited further criticism this past January, when it lowered its rates during a protest by the New York Taxi Workers Alliance against U.S. President Donald Trump’s discriminatory Muslim ban. Amidst calls for Uber users to delete their accounts, many of the company’s customers turned to Lyft as an alternative.
John Zimmer, Lyft’s co-founder and president, told the Toronto Star that the company will introduce five options to the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton: regular vehicles for up to four passengers; its Plus service, which uses vehicles that can carry up to six people; Premier, which provides high-end cars; Lux, which provides “luxury” black cars; and an SUV version of Lux.
More than 50,000 Torontonians have downloaded the Lyft app this year, even with no service available in the city yet, Zimmer says.
No specific date has been set for Lyft’s Canadian launch. Passenger rates and information on driving for the service have also yet to be released.
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