As ridesharing technology becomes more ubiquitous and regulators and taxi cab associations get twisted into pretzels, companies in the space are becoming fiercely competitive, rapidly pushing into new territories and slashing prices in an effort to corner the market.
San Francisco-based ridesharing app Lyft announced it is bringing its service to New York City this Friday starting with the outer boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. For the first two weeks, the company is offering the service for free.
Lyft’s expansion to the Big Apple comes months after it launched in 24 cities, including the likes of Tulsa, Okla., and Lincoln, Neb., in 24 hours. At the end of its massive April rollout, Lyft was in 60 cities across the nation.
The only headscratcher is why it took Lyft so long to finally get to the Big Apple. It seems New York City would have much more demand for a tech-based ridesharing app than Tulsa, Okla. Lyft says it needed time to get up to scale for the demand that New York City was sure to bring. “We wanted to launch in NYC and be able to keep up with huge demand,” Lyft spokesperson Katie Dally told Entrepreneur.com.
The move comes just days after Uber temporarily lowered prices on its UberX service in New York City by 20 percent, with the company claiming it’s now cheaper than a traditional yellow cab ride.
Both Uber and Lyft have been chipping away at their prices in recent months. Competitor Sidecar lets drivers set their own prices and passengers share rides -- and fees.
While the price-cutting and push into new territories benefits the consumer, the widespread adoption of ridesharing technology has another clear winner: It makes entrepreneurship easily accessible. If you have a car and a smartphone, the likes of Uber, Lyft and Sidecar allow you to be your own boss with virtually no overhead. And you can make a pretty penny, too. Uber has gone on record that the median salary of a driver in New York City hits six figures.