Ride-hail company Lyft today announced that it has expanded its offerings in what amounts to a clear attempt to move into turf long occupied by its main rival, Uber. Lyft, which has a reputation as sort of a more casual Uber — think Priuses instead of black cars — now offers a "Premier" option at a premium price.
"If you’re one of the many Lyft passengers who has told us you want a more stylish arrival for business trips and special nights out, we have a new ride option you’re going to love," the company explains on its blog. "Lyft Premier adds a little luxury to your ride, anytime you want it. You’ll be matched with a high-end sedan or SUV like a BMW 5 Series, Audi A6, Lexus ES, or Cadillac Escalade in minutes."
The Verge reports that 60 percent of Lyft rides have requested a fancier ride option at one point or another, and notes that this might actually be a boon for drivers. The reason?
Unlike with Uber Black, where drivers of Uber's more expensive service are prevented from picking up UberX passengers, Lyft Premier drivers can pick up normal Lyft ride requests if no one is hailing the Premium option. (Update: An Uber spokesperson reached out to us and noted that, contrary to The Verge's reporting, Uber Black drivers can indeed pick up UberX passengers.)
While prices are likely to fluctuate, as of this morning in San Francisco Lyft Premier has a $5 pickup price tag with $2.77 per mile ($.49 per minute) cost. The minimum ride is $9. This compares to a $2 base charge with a $1.16 cost per mile ($.23 per minute) for a regular Lyft.
Lyft Premier is presently only available in the Bay Area, New York, and LA. No word yet on whether or not the fancy Lyfts will come with fancier mustaches.