Lyft is getting into the higher-end ride hailing game with Lyft Lux and Lyft Lux SUV. These are black car offerings similar to the service that rival Uber originally launched with, and they’ll be available beginning in 20 markets with a gradual rollout starting now in five initial markets and continuing through mid-June.
Lux will roll out first in five U.S. cities where it makes the most sense to expect a demand for premium ride options, including Chicago, LA, NYC, SF and San Jose. On the driver side, the process of getting approved to drive Lux is obviously a bit more complex than the standard procedure for signing up to drive Lyft, and includes both a geographic requirement (you have to drive in a city where it’s currently offered), and a higher, more specific standard for vehicles.
Eligible cars must be at least a 2011 model year or above, have an actual black exterior paint job (in top condition), have leather or simulated leather seating, and be able to seat at least 6 riders comfortably if you want to drive the Lux SUV option, too. There’s also a specific list of car models and makes that you can use, which is available in full here.
Driving for Lux and Lux SUV will result in higher fares, of course, and will also cost more for users. It’s a good option for Lyft to make available if it wants to win over some of Uber’s more top-end customers, who are looking for a fancier ride during business travel or while hosting clients, for example.
Many looking at the future of ride hailing see the market continuing to evolve and serve a variety of different tiers – Tesla competitor Lucid Motors is even building a luxury EV sedan specifically tailored to ride-sharing and ride hailing usage. Differentiated service offerings like Lux will help Lyft better address this market maturation, should it continue to evolve along the lines of hotels and other aspects of the hospitality industry.