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Lyft rides into New York, service starts Friday

Ride-sharing service Lyft is rolling into New York City this Friday, launching first in the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn, the startup announced Monday.

The Uber rival is certainly keen to make a splash with its latest city launch, with an impressive 500 drivers ready and waiting to fist-bump their first paying passengers.

If the post on the Lyft blog announcing the launch is anything to go by, it sounds like these drivers are going to be busy, with 75,000 New Yorkers having already opened the Lyft app to get a ride.

“Now, residents and visitors looking to travel in between boroughs, get a ride to the closest subway station, or head out for a night on the town can easily request a safe and friendly ride,” the company said in the post, adding, “Not only does Lyft cost less than a cab, it also allows passengers to meaningfully connect with someone in their community as they share the ride.”

Why only Brooklyn and Queens?

The San Francisco-based startup, which has been operating since 2012, says it’s starting out in Brooklyn and Queens as it considers these two boroughs to be “vastly underserved by public transit options compared to the rest of New York City.”

Lyft’s cross-platform mobile app allows its drivers to connect with passengers looking for a ride, with payments made via credit card, also done through the app. Its fleet of cars currently run routes in more than 60 cities across the US.

Heating up

The ride-sharing game is certainly heating up in the Big Apple, with Lyft’s expansion into the city coming in the same week that Uber announced a 20 percent cut in the cost of its service there.

The likes of Lyft and Uber also need to pick their way through local regulations affecting such services, while cab companies around the world have been protesting at their growing presence.

In a bid to get its New York operation off to the best possible start, Lyft says all new passengers there will receive two whole weeks of free rides. You can give the service a try from 7pm Friday.

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