Lyft Plans to Offer Service in Toronto

The ride-hailing company Lyft, a major rival to Uber in the United States, is moving to gain ground internationally.

Lyft announced on Monday that it would be offering services in Toronto in time for the holiday season.

“We’ve been looking forward to taking our brand of ride-sharing international for some time, and we’re super pumped to share this with our close friends up north,” the company said in a statement.

In an effort to entice drivers, Lyft offered a 25 percent bonus for the first 3,000 who are approved and who complete 20 rides a week during the first three months of operation.

The company has benefited from a series of scandals at Uber, but the competition in the sector is heating up.

Lyft has begun exploring an initial public offering in 2018 and has already raised $1 billion, getting support from Alphabet’s venture investment arm, CapitalG, along the way.

Lyft has also been jockeying for space in the self-driving sector, agreeing to a partnership with the automaker Ford in September to develop autonomous-vehicle designs and technology, and opening a research facility in Palo Alto, Calif.

The announcement from Lyft was made just hours after Uber completed a deal to sell a stake to SoftBank, a Japanese conglomerate, which would pave the way for sweeping governance changes at Uber and an initial public offering.

Uber has been trying to repair its image, with Dara Khosrowshahi, the company’s new chief executive, pushing a softer tone and a list of cultural values that include the maxim, “We do the right thing. Period.”

Uber suffered another setback last week, however, when a British employment tribunal rejected its argument that the company’s drivers were self-employed.

Lyft has tried to project a friendlier image to distinguish itself from Uber. Speaking to the Toronto Star last month, John Zimmer, Lyft’s president and co-founder, said the company was focused on “treating people well.”

Content originally published on by AMIE TSANG