U.S. based Lyft Inc. the ride-hailing company launched on Tuesday its service north of the border in Toronto, marking its first venture outside the U.S. in its battle against Uber Technologies.
Lyft prides itself on being a friendlier version of its biggest competitor Uber, which currently is facing several investigations by different governments across the globe, including one in Canada, over the cover up it carried out of a huge data breach in 2016.
Uber has received criticism for the attitude it expresses to regulations and of being accused of stealing trade secrets.
Tim Houghton Lyft’s Toronto general manager said Tuesday was a monumental day for the company, just prior to Marcus Stroman a pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays hailing the first Canadian ride for the company to deliver toys to children in local hospitals.
Houghton said that passengers want options and drivers know that Lyft was built with the idea of caring for the driver community and wants that type of experience.
Houghton said over 50,000 people across Toronto, the largest city in Toronto, have downloaded its app in 2017, but did not say the number of drivers that have signed up other than saying it was more than 100.
Uber says that 32,000 of its drivers in Toronto made four trips or more during November.
Houghton said Lyft was committed to making sure it has the right amount of drivers to meet demand it has seen in the Toronto market.
He would not comment when asked if Lyft had plans to launch in other cities in Canada. Lyft will pay drivers in Toronto 75% to 80% of the fare that is paid by passengers, which is comparable to what drivers with Uber are paid.
Uber, which has being operating for five years in Canada, expressed that it welcomed the new competition that would help to encourage the use of more mobility services over using their own vehicles.
Lyft in October was able to raise more than $1 billion, in a round of financing that was led by Alphabet Inc.’s CaptialG a growth investment fund.
In September, Lyft hired an advisory firm for initial public offerings.
The ride hailing services have come under pressure from city governments around the globe with some of those governments not allowing the ride-hailing services to operate unless they follow strict regulations that taxis must adhere to.