SAN FRANCISCO, April 24 (UPI) -- Ride-sharing startup Lyft announced Thursday it will launch services in 24 new cities by offering customers free rides and lowering fares in existing cities.
With this expansion Lyft will now be available in 60 cities, a major jump considering it was only operating in San Francisco early last year. The expansion gives Lyft the most coverage of any ride-sharing service, and will give it a heads up in 13 cities where Uber doesn't currently operate.
Co-founder and president John Zimmer said that the new locations will include Kansas City, Missouri; Newark, New Jersey; and Albuquerque, New Mexico, and passengers in the new markets will get free rides for the first two weeks.
Lyft, known for its cars adorned with big, pink mustaches, initially started by recruiting drivers to offer their cars to prospective users, who would decide the price. But now they charge a price per mile and per minute. Earlier this month, the company announced a "Spring Pricing" discount and is giving users an additional 10 percent cut in existing cities.
Lyft also offers "Happy Hour" pricing, which applies to discounted fares in periods of low demand. The company has seen favorable response to these pricing strategies and is getting even more aggressive with its pricing.
“Spring pricing has been so successful, we’ve seen double-digit percentage growth in the number of rides,” Zimmer said. “There won’t be any impact to drivers, but this will allow for even more affordability [for passengers].”
The announcement comes a day after rival Uber reached the 100 city landmark by announcing the launch of services in Beijing, China. Lyft currently does not have any international presence and is instead concentrating on the U.S. market.
But Zimmer did say that Lyft would announce its first international market in the coming months.