So Long, Pink Mustache: Lyft Unveils Premium Service With Custom SUVs

Lyft's new SUVs no longer sport a pink mustache, but they will offer a cheaper alternative to Uber.

Lyft's pink mustache is a thing of the past — at least for Lyft's premium passengers.
The San Francisco-based per-to-peer ridesharing service announced Lyft Plus on Thursday, a "premium" ride service to compete with Uber's Black Car and SUV offerings.

Lyft Plus drivers will operate custom-made white Ford Explorers, complete with a small, silver mustache on the car's grill instead of the fluffy, pink mustache drivers use now. The Explorers have custom leather seats, USB ports for each user, and under-glow lights on both the inside and outside of the car.
The premium service will cost passengers twice as much as a standard Lyft ride, and the company will start with fewer than a dozen drivers in San Francisco on Thursday.
The new Lyft luxury cars were designed specifically for the company by West Coast Customs.

The new Lyft luxury cars were designed specifically for the company by West Coast Customs.
Lyft won't actually own the new luxury rides, which were designed specifically for the company by West Coast Customs. Instead, individual Lyft drivers are buying the vehicles with some financial assistance from the company, according to a spokesperson.
The move means Lyft won't have to deal with issues like car maintenance or storage, and also maintains the peer-to-peer element that has propelled the company. The costs of the cars, and the total assistance offered by Lyft, isn't being disclosed.
Lyft says that "hundreds" of drivers signed up to operate the new premium rides, but fewer than a dozen will be available on the streets of San Francisco at launch. Lyft picked some of its most tenured drivers to implement Lyft Plus, and will continue to add drivers as more custom cars become available.
The addition of Lyft Plus adds more competition for Uber in the "premium" ride category. Lyft is offering a lower price, but Uber has a larger fleet (at least for now).
Comparing Lyft Plus to Uber's SUV service.
The two ridesharing services have been dueling it out in an attempt to woo passengers and drivers. Lyft currently offers rides at a 30% discount, a promotion it has been running for a few weeks. On top of that, Lyft is sacrificing its usual 20% cut. In other words, the company isn't making money on standard Lyft rides at the moment, although they will collect 20% from each Lyft Plus ride beginning Thursday.
Uber, on the other hand, is trying to steal away Lyft's drivers. The company is offering $500 to any new driver who joins Uber from another service.
Users interested in Lyft Plus can sign up here for an update to the app which will allow them to hail a Lyft SUV. Lyft isn't updating the app for all users right away in an attempt to limit demand while supply is low, but more than 1,000 users are already on the waiting list for the update, according to the company.
Lyft will roll out its premium rides to other cities at some point down the road, although a timetable is not yet available, according to a spokesperson. Los Angeles will likely be the next destination for Lyft Plus.

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