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Lyft's first expansion outside the USA in Toronto next month (thestar.com)
117 points by annapurna on Nov 13, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 50 comments

Can't wait. I've used Uber frequently for a long time, but every other story in the news about them is that their leadership are just terrible human beings. I don't want to deal with them as a company.

Much like the drivers, I simply want what Uber is offering and have no loyalty to the company itself. If Lyft wants to come to Toronto and offer the same thing without being Uber, I'll gladly switch.

I would use Lyft or Uber in Toronto, whichever is convenient at that point of time. If you start to boycott companies which are not ethical in doing their business, well almost all companies are. Lets start with Amazon with their sweat shop warehouses, Garment manufacturing outsourced to workers in Bangladesh working in deadly conditions. No corporations are saints.

(This isn't meant as a personal attack on the parent comment. Their opinion is common and I've held it myself in the past)

I really dislike this line of thinking. It's profoundly cynical and sees change as impossible.

Corporations do bad things. I can comment on that and refuse to do business with some of them and not others. I don't have to uproot my whole life and become a mountain ascetic to earn the moral purity necessary to acknowledge a single evil.

We can address one bad thing without addressing every bad thing at once.

To add to the sibling comment here, when you have a realistic choice, you can choose the better one. Lyft is a clear matching competitor, and if you can afford any small price differences, you have no excuses. Amazon doesn't really have a competitor. While some can afford fair trade clothing, most cannot. Just because no company is perfect and sometimes supporting pretty shitty practices is more or less unavoidable doesn't mean you have no choice in every scenario every time.

"Saint or GTFO" is a poor tactic against even the most minimally aware opponent.

It's important to choose companies that you like - and behavior is a key component of that. Sometimes you have no choice but to deal with unfavorable companies, but if there is an option you should consider all aspects when purchasing.

It's a huge mistake to do nothing because you can't do everything.

About time. While Uber is available in almost every major city around the world, Lyft has been US only. I wonder why Lyft is so far behind. Is it just a matter of investment capital?

Agreed, I can't understand why they haven't expanded to London (UK) yet. Uber completely dominates the market for ride sharing.

Uber recently had their license to operate in London, UK revoked, and it was also ruled that their drivers are employees not ICs. It’s a market that requires more preparedness before entering.

I believe it is because they are hesitant to blatantly disregard local laws - it's part of their brand persona, they try to be seen as the "nicer uber" - hence they try to play nice with the jurisdictions they expand to, resulting in slower expansion.


You are misinformed. If you had followed both companies from the beginning, you would know that Uber started with licensed drivers - even UberX started that way with only cheaper cars - and it was lyft who broke the city ordinances by using unlicensed drivers under the disguise of tipping-as-payment. Uber refused to do it, until they realized the governments were not enforcing the laws at all. The case in Miami is the best example of it, as pointed out by malandrew in https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15686983. This is covered in the book "Wild Ride: Inside Uber's Quest for World Domination".

As many drivers in the lyft reddit point out, lyft just want you to believe it's more ethical, when it is far from the truth. It's also sad some people here draw conclusion from talking to drivers, often lyft drivers only, without considering there is huge survival bias.

Thank you for calling out what seems like an incredible -- almost intentionally ignorant -- hive mind HN tends to have at times.

> I believe it is because they are hesitant to blatantly disregard local laws

Lyft was the first company to operate in Miami, and Miami was the first market where drivers could face criminal charges. Uber avoided operating in Miami for this very reason and when it saw inaction in enforcement, they informed the Miami government that they would also enter the market if they continue to not enforce the law. I don't know about you, but putting drivers in a position where they could face criminal charges and jail time is far worse than anything I've seen Uber do. With civil liabilities, these companies can support the drivers with legal help, but with criminal liabilities, neither company can offer their drivers a get-out-of-jail free card.

The idea that one company is more ethical than the other is a farce.

FWIW Not suggesting they are in actuality any better, but rather from a branding perspective they want people to perceive them as better.

Certainly a factor, but honestly, I really think this is about building up the business. Uber burns so much money through its quick expansion. You could be the first, one and only one entirely, and last standing, but what really matters is to be the last standing right? The way I see it is Uber has proven shared riding is a great business to build, so Lyft just let Uber paved the way (bring shared riding) and bring shared riding to the rest of the world, while Lyft builds up a competent team in the U.S, then take advantage of shared riding momentum.. In a way think of Lfyt taking a shared ride with Uber but the last to pick up.

I have had the same view of them, except when they went along with Uber and left Austin when we passed a local law requiring all drivers to get fingerprinted and undergo a background check. That really soured my perception of them.

That said, given a choice b/w Uber and Lyft I most certainly choose Lyft every time.

I've noticed that Uber seems to have much more competitive pricing in markets (especially airports) where Lyft is also present, compared to markets where they are the only provider. So personally I would welcome Lyft's rapid international expansion.

That's because in general Uber is selling at a loss in those markets to try to drive Lyft out of business. Hence why they're burning through cash like an 18 year-old lottery winner.

It's unsustainable and hopefully Lyft can weather it.

> selling at a loss in those markets to try to drive Lyft out of business.

Leaked financials show that Lyft is selling at a far greater loss than Uber. Based on Q2 leaked figures, Uber's losses relative to gross bookings was -8% and Lyft's was 13.5%.

In aggregate yes, but it would be interesting to know what Uber’s numbers are for just the markets where they compete with Lyft.

Other than the leaked financials, I haven't seen any leaked or public information specific to the US alone that suggests that one is subsidizing more than the other. They could be subsidizing equally. Or Uber could be subsidizing more. Or Lyft could be subsidizing more.

Do you have any evidence to demonstrate that only in the US Uber is subsidizing more? If so, please share. I haven't yet heard a single convincing argument supporting this popularly held belief that Uber is subsidizing more.

All I know is that all of Uber's business is more efficient than Lyft. Plus, this is after taking into account that Uber shoulders most of the market's losses when it comes to penetrating a new market and getting laws changed to allow TNCs. Once TNCs are an established business in most markets, the legal costs should drop, shrinking G&A, thus leaving it even more capital efficient.

In my market Lyft line is consistently half the price of Uber pool, I’ve started using Lyft again because of this, experience is identical

In Seattle I am paying $0.00 for uberpool. $14 makes all uberpool rides from home to work and return just $0.00 for 28 days. This also makes all uberX rides $3.49.


Agreed. I fly YYZ-LGA route frequently and notice the differences. Would love to have Lyft (or any other competitor) here in Toronto.

As Uber is not available at YYZ. I do feel Lyft will have the same issue. Politics of money will always play a huge role in this country.

  > “At the end of the day, I’m available to the highest bidder.”
I've heard that a lot from drivers all over the U.S. They run both apps and whichever gives them the next ride, they take.

I don't know if this is the same in every cities, but here in Seattle using Uber is becoming very annoying: in the past rides we tried getting in the past few weeks, the original wait time shows something like 2 or 3 minutes, but as soon as the ride is found it jumps to 7-8 minutes. And that stays blocked on this time for a couple minutes (or sometimes increase!). In the meantime, for Lyft rides it seems to be the opposite, usually we have to wait less than a minute for rides from the same place. This didn't use to be the case, I'm wondering if the majority of drivers have now switched to Lyft .

I have exactly opposite experience in Seattle.

Almost always Lyft's estimated time of arrival is way off the charts.

With recent investments in both Lyft and Uber, it will be interesting to see how Lyft executes on it's international expansion.

> John Zimmer, Lyft’s president and co-founder says 5,000 Torontonians downloaded the app this year with no service available.

> Uber has become part of Toronto’s transportation scene, with almost 50,000 drivers — many part-time — and new services including food delivery.

> Kristine Hubbard, Beck Taxi’s operations manager, expects Lyft’s entry to worsen Toronto gridlock. “It’s another reason to encourage cars to cruise the streets of our city — many of them who come from outside it — who otherwise wouldn’t be there.”

Beck has been waging a pretty high-profile PR war against ride-sharing in this city..

But Beck Taxi are also the face of everything that's wrong with taxis in Toronto, so most people here don't take their position very seriously, and they do not have much goodwill from the population (or from taxi operators in a lot of cases).

That said, in the last few months whenever I talk to my Uber driver about "how things are going", the majority of them complain about slowing business, and making less money and getting less rides..

It seems like, anecdotally speaking, the downtown area in particular is pretty saturated with drivers, and while this is great for riders (I almost never wait more than 2-3 minutes no matter where I am), it's probably less great for drivers.

Yeah, Beck's been fighting a losing battle. Once I called them to give it a shot and they made me wait for 15 minutes. To be fair, the taxi did arrive and I was not in any rush so overall, the delay didn't matter much. However, that's probably the last time I'll call them unless something changes drastically. I also just noticed they have released an app. Curious how's the experience is on it so far.

The Beck app is basically just a text interface to their human dispatcher..

Last time I used it (admittedly over a year ago) it was not very responsive (very poor UX) and didn't seem to have any advantage over calling.

Fantastic news. I dropped Uber because of how they organize their business. My experience with Lyft in US cities has been fantastic.

Uber could use some competition in Canada as well (outside of our generally terrible taxis).

The competition will most certainly result in coupons with free/discounted rides and other benefits like the old Hailo vs Uber days, before Hailo left Toronto...

A large part of Uber's ability to act without regard for public scrutiny was the fact they were frequently the only horse in town for most cities. The tech press in SF is often isolated from this reality.

This competition from Lyft is a great counter balance for Uber, without having to rely on the heavy-handed counter-weight of government-backed last-era taxi conglomerates/unions.

Excellent news. I dropped Uber because of how they run their business. My experience with Lyft in US cities has been excellent.

Uber could use some competition in Toronto as well (outside of our generally terrible taxis).

I'm so glad to hear I'm not alone in avoiding Uber for being unethical. I hope this is more widespread than just the HN crowd, but generally I get the impression that most folks just aren't aware/don't care about corporate behavior.

> Khalid Ahmed, 31, says he makes about $30 an hour, less expenses, as an occasional driver for Uber. He plans to switch to Lyft.

>"It’s new, it’s fresh. It’s like waiting in line for the new iPhone — I’ve got to have it,” he said with a laugh. He also likes the company’s mission statement and driver incentives. “At the end of the day, I’m available to the highest bidder.”

Are Lyft's incentive better than Uber? Or is that they are better because they are the underdogs? AFAIK many drivers service all ride share apps at any given time.

Lyft tends to pay better than Uber. Have asked drivers who drive for both in about 5-6 cities, all same answer. Lyft is the one you want to drive for.

You are completely misinformed. Most drivers do both. Get on reddit.com/r/lyft or reddit.com/r/uberdrivers and you will get a sense that post tipping + changes Uber has made, the scale has entirely tipped. Lyft has certainly done an excellent job building up the perception that they are better for drivers and convincing consumers of the same. In fact, this is on the front page of r/lyft today - https://www.reddit.com/r/Lyft/comments/7c234g/is_lyft_unethi...

I'm just reporting anecdotal evidence from drivers. The drivers I asked had signage for both on their cars, I did not deny that most drive for both.

Said survey was before Uber introduced tipping.

Meh. I think I will continue to use Uber because from what I can tell, and what annoyingly no one seems to talk about in this conversation, is the difference in the services/experience. The user experience of taking a ride is not the same/not as seamless because you have to do all this payment/tip stuff at the end. Uber has always been a hail/get in/get out experience. No incentive to change to Lyft

You’re misinformed. It’s nearly exactly the same as Uber, especially now that Uber does tip.

You just get out of the car at the end. Next time you open the app you either rate and tip or just rate.

could you elaborate on that ?

I've never used Lyft but i think it works just like uber. this is what i found on their site

How Much Does a Lyft Ride Cost? Depends on where you’re headed and when. There is a base charge and a cost per mile and per minute, with extra added on when your pickup point is in Prime Time, which happens during higher-than-normal demand to encourage drivers to get on the road. For price estimates of rides in your city, check out the Lyft city page. Oh, and never worry about carrying cash — payment happens seamlessly through the app.


I use both Lyft and Uber regularly, and it's the exact same experience (except that the Uber app/system periodically decides to not process my request for unknown reasons).

also for the record, I used Uber initially and for years solely to hail licensed taxis. Purely out of convenience. The drivers were smarter about roads which is a big deal, generally more available etc. Only in the past year or less have the Uber X drivers gotten better at local directions and more plentiful, so then cost wins.

and ok, fine, if the experience is exactly the same - what's the incentive to switch or even set up the second app? Uber wins on first in, same as if anyone local remembers, Hailo eventually gave up and pulled out of the city because couldn't get users over etc

People who aren't entrenched now have another service to choose from. people who are entrenched will be fought over on price and quality of service.

Granted my experience in Toronto and Montreal are that cabs are easy to come by, relatively inexpensive and accept NFC payments...so maybe on the consumer side they have less cruft than US cab companies and may be less immune to complete disruption by the big rideshare companies

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