“We’ve been very intentional with the markets we’ve selected in Canada,” said Aaron Zifkin, Lyft’s managing director for Canada, in an interview with the publication.
Lyft filed paperwork in Ottawa but has not announced a specific launch date, only to say it’ll be “in the coming weeks.”
Back in November, councillors were notified by the city’s bylaw department Lyft was inquiring about the municipal licensing system in the nation’s capital.
“The most important thing for us is we’re aligning the values of our company with the type of communities that we’re going to be operating in and Ottawa was a natural fit. It’s the capital of Canada and obviously the heartbeat of the country and so we wanted to launch there as quickly as possible,” added Zifkin.
Lyft has already started to hire drivers, which will compete with Uber in the city.
Cabbies in the city aren’t worried about Lyft’s debut in Ottawa, with Marc André Way, chief executive of Coventry Connections, noting the launch won’t impact their drivers much, saying “It’s the same group of drivers running for the same piece of pie,” adding “The users of that type of platform are already gone from our market.”
What a difference in thinking when it comes to cabbies in Ottawa, unlike other cities such as Vancouver and Victoria, which have yet to adopt ridesharing.
As for Uber, the company said it is “proud to have paved the way for ride-sharing in Canada and we welcome competition that encourages the use of more transportation alternatives,” said a spokesperson.
Lyft says the upcoming launch isn’t confirmation of a wider rollout across Canada yet, as it’s focused on bringing a “great experience” for both riders and drivers in Ottawa.
Currently, Lyft is offering $3.25 fixed ride fares in Toronto, for those affected by TTC subway weekend closures.
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