The ride sharing app Lyft is going to use $600 million in new funding in an effort to open new driver-service centers. Lyft will call these service centers “hubs” and they will be used to get drivers on the road in only a few hours.
The company says it already has hubs in nine US cities and will be opening a 10th hub within the next months, though the company has not disclosed the new location. Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, Phoenix, and Atlanta are among the cities with existing hubs.
As you can imagine, the ride-sharing market is growing quickly, but the market shares, of course, are shrinking as this competition revs up. Lyft is looking to gain ground against direct competitor Uber, which is currently recovering from management misconduct fallout.
Indeed, a recent report showed that Lyft’s market share had risen from 21 percent two years ago to almost 25 percent. This was before Uber CEO Travis Kalanick turned in his resignation after some reports detailed broad sexual discrimination and bullying among other hostile workplace behavior. Two years ago, Uber held about 90 percent of the market share, which his now down to 75 percent (obviously).
These new hubs will act as both an orientation center as well as a vehicle inspection station aimed to help the ride-hailing company to get new drivers on the road faster. Effectively, prospective Lyft drivers who have already passed the background check can check into one of these “hubs” within a couple of hours. This depends, of course, on the number of safety checks that Lyft has to perform on a vehicle before it can be approved for service—which varies from state to state.
Lyft northern California general manager Mihir Gandhi comments that the background checks variance can affect the total time from application to driving in a manner that some might be able to start driving—and earning money—within a few days, while others might take a few weeks. In some cases, you could be in an out of the hub—approved and ready to drive—within just a couple of hours.