Rideshare wars: Lyft takes on Uber in Toronto in first battle outside of U.S.

Lyft cars are now plying the streets of Toronto in first move outside of U.S.

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It’s been a long time coming, but Lyft is now operating in its first market outside of the United States.

The company started offering rides in the Canadian city of Toronto on December 12, as part of ongoing efforts to compete with Uber, its main rival in the ridesharing space.

As a launch gift, Lyft is knocking five Canadian bucks off your first ride, and giving you the chance make a donation to the SickKids Foundation through the company’s fare round-up program.

“We’ve been looking forward to taking our brand of ridesharing international for some time, and we’re super pumped to share this with our close friends up north,” Lyft said in a recent blog post announcing its decision to roll into Canada.

Lyft’s arrival in Toronto comes more than five years after Uber set up shop there. Uber currently has around 50,000 drivers working the streets of the Canadian city, so Lyft certainly has its work cut out if it’s to make an impact there.

The ridesharing company famous for its now-discarded furry pink mustache is offering its existing services to riders, including regular cars for as many as four passengers, and its Plus service for up to six people. Its Premier service offers high-end cars, while Lux lets you ride in “the most luxurious makes and models with luxury black cars,” according to Lyft’s website. Finally, Lyft Lux SUV is a premium black SUV service with enough space for up to six passengers.

Lyft president and co-founder John Zimmer told the Toronto Star he believes the city shares “the values that we have at Lyft – focusing on people taking care of people, treating people well, treating people with mutual respect, and promoting both inclusion and diversity.”

If Lyft’s first journey out of the U.S. works out well, it could be the beginning of a major expansion as it seeks to grab a chunk of the ridesharing market from Uber. Several reports in recent months have suggested Lyft has already been picking up some business at the expense of its rival, partly due to missteps by Uber that turned some riders off its service. Uber has also been dealing with the loss of its CEO, several company scandals, and various lawsuits targeting its business.

If you’re new to ridesharing but want to give it a try, check out DT’s informative look at both Lyft and Uber to discover which might be best for you.

Update: Revised to include the December 12 launch of Lyft in Toronto.