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Lyft says it’s expanding to new US cities faster than expected

Lyft says it’s expanding to new US cities faster than expected


Perhaps it senses blood in the water?

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Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

A little over a month ago, Lyft announced plans to launch in 100 new cities in the US by the end of 2017. Today, the ride-hail company said that it has reached that goal — nine months ahead of schedule.

Lyft launched in 40 new cities in January, followed by 50 cities in February. Just this week, the ride-hail service is newly active in a handful of cities in Oklahoma, Texas, and Florida, including two cities — Lawton, Oklahoma, and McAllen, Texas — where it even beat Uber to market.

Lyft still has a long way to go to catch up with Uber, which is available in over 560 cities around the globe. So far, Lyft has remained within the US, but it seems likely the company will seek to expand into other countries soon enough. The company formed an anti-Uber alliance with a handful of Asian ride-hailing companies, though the status of that alliance is unclear since Uber sold its Chinese business to one of the members, Didi Chuxing.

As Lyft continues to grow, the company also stands to profit from Uber’s tailspin of negative publicity. An ex-engineer’s allegations of rampant sexism and a toxic work culture has sparked chaos at the much larger ride-hailing company, with customers deleting their accounts in protest and top executives vowing a swift investigation. Video surfaced of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick getting in a heated exchange with a driver, and the company found itself on the defensive over its secretive “greyball” software program developed to hide its vehicles from law enforcement.

Uber is by no means down for the count, but Lyft is eagerly positioning itself for a more competitive 2017.