Lyft is growing beyond its home market of the U.S., with a launch planned next month in Toronto, the largest city in Canada. Residents in the greater Toronto area (and nearby Hamilton will be able to hail vehicles from five of its service options starting in December.
Riders in the cities will be able to hail Lyft Plus, Lyft Premiere, Lyft Lux and Lyft Lux SUV rides, as well as normal Lyft’s with cars that can take up to four passengers. The company is also beginning to sign up potential drivers now in advance of its rollout of its service. Rates and payouts to drivers are not yet available.
Lyft will face competition in Toronto, as Uber already has a presence, and has been operating in the city for five years now. Previously, Uber operated alongside rival Hailo in the market, but Hailo subsequently exited North America altogether, shutting down operations in Toronto.
Lyft will likely have a good chance of becoming a strong competitor relatively quickly – Lyft co-founder John Zimmer points out to the Toronto Star that 50,000 Torontonians have the Lyft app on their phone already, despite there being no service available in the country. Residents will likely be curious about trying out the new alternative.
This is a significant expansion not just for Canadians and residents of Toronto, however; Lyft moving into a market outside the U.S. signals it might now be ready for more ambitious international growth. The company has long talked about having ambitions outside its home country in past, and its primary rival Uber has a strong international presence, but thus far, it has focused on expanding its coverage with the U.S. and upgrading its service offerings.
In 2017, Lyft expanded to cover around 94 percent of U.S. residents, up from around 60 percent at the start of the year, with multiple new markets added across the country.