Lyft opens first permanent office in NYC

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Ride-sharing provider Lyft is going bicoastal with its first ever permanent office in New York, which will house not only sales and marketing, but also engineering staff – including those working on autonomous vehicle tech, as well as Lyft’s marketplace product and its infrastructure efforts.

The NYC office is located in Chelsea, and can play host to over 80 employees across 11,000 square feet. Lyft’s looking to get a better picture of the specific challenges of New York transportation by establishing a permanent presence in the city, since the company notes that “if you can understand and build transportation in NYC, you can do it anywhere.”

New York is definitely a key market to come to grips with if you want to be able to deploy a usable network of autonomous vehicles on a ride-hailing basis. One of Lyft’s earliest partners in autonomous driving, GM-owned Cruise Automation, has already announced plans to become the first automaker to test its self-driving cars on NYC roads, something it anticipates should start next year.

Lyft head of office operations Nancy Losey noted in a statement that this will help the company “draw on the incredible pool of talent in NYC,” so while it sounds like a modest start in terms of staff capacity, it could pave the way for a larger east coast presence in future.