In its latest step to capture a bigger share of the business and luxury travel market, ride-sharing company Lyft said it is rolling out a black car service in major cities.
The new service, called Lyft Lux and Lyft Lux SUV, starts this week in San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City. It should be available in 20 cities by this summer. (It showed up on the app this morning…)
The company is telling prospective drivers that to qualify for the new categories, they must have specific models of vehicles from any of 21 approved brands, from Acuras to Buicks to Linciolns to Rolls-Royces. The cars must be black, no older than a 2011 model, and have leather or leather-like seats. To qualify as a Lux SUV vehicle, it must seat at least six persons. Pricing for Lux is roughly 3x regular prices.
Drivers for the new service must have maintained a rating of 4.7 stars or higher.
Although it started out as a simple ride-sharing service for the casual or leisure passenger, it has been moving to attract more business travelers. Last year, it introduced a new option called Lyft Premier that features higher-end luxury cars (Lexus ES, Cadillac Escalade, Audi A6 and BMW 5 Series – not necessarily black). Pricing for Premier is roughly 2x regular pricing.
And earlier this month, Lyft formed a partnership with Delta SkyMiles so that members can earn miles for each ride when they link their accounts (including triple miles for airport rides through August 31).
Lyft competitor Uber actually started out as a all-black-car service when it launched in San Francisco in 2011. A year later, it introduced its mass-market UberX service– more or less copying Lyft’s less expensive option.
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