Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Ride-hailing service Lyft made its first step in the international market Tuesday by starting operations in Toronto.
Other Canadian cities will soon follow as Lyft tries to increase its share of the ride-hailing market against Uber, which has several international markets already but has suffered from months of negative attention for its business and corporate practices.
Ela Veresiu, an assistant professor of marketing at York University's Schulich School of Business, told the CBC that Lyft wants to present itself as an alternative to Uber.
"It's already built its brand in the U.S. in opposition to the negative brand images that are circulating and have been throughout popular culture about Uber," Veresiu said
Jordan Samuels, a Toronto driver who drives for Uber, said she also signed up to drive for Lyft.
"Now that there is going to be both Uber and Lyft, they can compete against each other to keep and to make us work on their platform during prime time," she told the CBC.
Although Lyft will offer Uber some new competition in the Toronto area, it's possible that Lyft wouuldn't be there if not for Uber.
When Uber first launched in Toronto back in 2014, it ran into resistance, particularly from taxi driver unions who contended that the ride-hailing app undercuts their prices -- a problem the company has ran into in several countries. There were even unsuccessful attempts to ban the service outright in the province of Ontario.
After Lyft's Toronto launch on Tuesday, Uber spokesperson Xavier Van Chau said in a statement that the company was proud to have "paved the way for ridesharing in Canada," according to the Toronto Star.
"We welcome competition that encourages the use of more transportation alternatives," Van Chau said. "More options can help reduce congestion and pollution as consumers increasingly make the switch from driving their own car to using shared mobility services."
This year has been a busy one for Lyft, which expanded to dozens of new cities within the United States and celebrated hitting the 500-million ride mark in October, according to a company statement.