While app-based ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are plentiful in New York City, they were sorely missed here in Westchester until last June when the popular services debuted across the county. Uber gets most of the attention — both good and bad — but Lyft has quietly taken Westchester by storm, claiming great success in its first full year of operation.
“On June 29th, 2017, local regulations took effect, allowing us to operate across the rest of New York State,” says Ann Ferracane, general manager of Lyft New York and New Jersey. “New York continues to be one of the fastest-growing markets. Passengers are consistently commuting between Westchester and New York City as well as through the county.”
Lyft has already developed partnerships with several popular local destinations, including The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester and the Empire Casino in Yonkers. Demand continues to increase for Lyft’s services, Ferracane says, as the company enters its second year in the Westchester market.
According to Ferracane, Lyft has seen a 40 percent increase in rides in Westchester in just the last six months alone. This strong demand has brought one challenge to Lyft so far: growing its workforce.
“We’re constantly focused on bringing enough drivers onto the platform to respond to the incredible demand for rides,” Ferracane says.
She also mentions the incredible support Westchester riders have shown for their drivers. An April press release from Lyft showed that Westchester County was one of the highest-tipping areas in the entire country, along with cities like Dallas, Detroit, Minneapolis, and San Jose.
Local cab companies, however, are not sharing that love. They have felt the heat of competition from Lyft and other ride-sharing services like Uber, as we reported in 914INC. earlier this year. Anne Marie Anderson of Annie’s Taxi in Tarrytown claims service calls have gone down 70 percent per week, for instance.
Lyft operates on a different business model than taxi services, and Ferracane believes that difference provides a competitive advantage. “Lyft drivers use their own cars to drive when it works for them,” she says. “Nationally, 93% of drivers drive fewer than 20 hours a week.”
It might be this flexibility and ease of use for both drivers and riders that has given Lyft a head start on the competition in Westchester. Drivers can work on their own schedule, driving their own vehicles. Riders can track the status of their driver in real time as opposed to making a blind phone to a local cab company and waiting for him/her to arrive.
Of course, local cab companies do have some advantages. Lyft and Uber process payment exclusively through their respective apps, while local cab companies accept cash payments. Local cab companies also argue they provide friendlier customer service for their customers.
As for the future of Lyft in Westchester, Ferracane sees nothing but continued success.
“We’ve been thrilled to not only provide reliable and convenient transportation for passengers but a flexible earning opportunity for drivers,” she says. “We’re looking forward to investing in creating the best possible driver experience while continuing to build our passenger community in Westchester.”