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Premier is Lyft’s answer for Uber Black

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Amelia Krales

Lyft is launching a luxury ride service called Lyft Premier to compete with Uber Black.

Though Uber is the 800-pound gorilla in the ride-sharing world, Lyft is no slouch either. And Uber’s most luxurious offering is the original Uber Black car service. For years, Lyft hasn’t had an offering to compete, preferring to focus on building out its standard ride-sharing service.

Lyft says that 60 percent of its riders have requested an option for a more luxurious ride. The company says Premier riders will get a higher-end vehicle like a BMW 5 Series, Audi A6, or an Escalade. Lyft Premier works similar to Uber Black. With both services, drivers who have a nicer car will get offers to drive both regular and luxury riders.

For drivers, that can be seen as a benefit — if there is no demand for Premier cars (with the higher payout that it delivers), they can still pick up Line Classic riders and make money. That’s better than sitting around waiting for a Premier rider and not getting paid, and gives Lyft greater flexibility to handle demand. On the other hand, the fact that more price-conscious Lyft riders can still get cars from the Premier fleet might decrease the luxury-factor.

To promote Lyft Premier, the company is offering new Lyft users 20 percent off their first 10 premier rides with code LYFTPREMIER20. It’s available now in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and New York City.

Correction 1:25PM ET: Corrected to note that Uber Black drivers can pick up riders from the UberX service.