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Lyft launching in New York with a focus on serving outer boroughs

Sarah Silbert

Lyft, the Uber alternative with a penchant for pink mustaches, will launch service in New York City at the end of the week. Initially, the ride-on-demand app will focus on boroughs beyond Manhattan, explaining that "Brooklyn and Queens are vastly underserved by public transit options compared to the rest of New York City." This is good news for many city residents -- not to mention Android Wear users eager to summon a car with their smartwatch -- the downside is that Lyft will only pick up customers in Brooklyn or Queens, at least for the time being. In other words, if you're trying to get back home from Manhattan, the app won't help you out. That said, the service will come in handy for those looking to get around in Brooklyn or Queens, or travel from one borough to the other.

As Lyft sets up shop in the Big Apple, it will face stiff competition from ultra-successful Uber. The latter recently cut fares for its UberX service by 20 percent, and that's just the latest example of the company waging war on competing services and local taxis. For its part, Lyft will lure new customers in New York City by offering two weeks of free rides. Beyond contending with rivals such as Uber and SideCar, Lyft, though, Lyft will also have to jump through the city's regulatory hurdles -- and the local taxi lobby didn't exactly welcome Uber with open arms initially. In any case, Lyft hopes its strict vehicle safety policies -- its insurance coverage is three times more than that of NYC taxis, for example -- will give it a leg up in this new market.

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