Lyft met officials from London's transport regulator regularly: report
26 September 2017
Lyft, Uber's closest US rival in the taxi-hailing business, repeatedly met officials from London's transport regulator over the past year, a sign it may be targeting the city for international expansion.
Transport for London (TfL), which has oversight on taxi and private hire car operators, published details of the meetings with Lyft executives in response to a UK government freedom of information request in July.
According to commentators, if Lyft were to enter the London market, Uber would face its first well-funded competitor in Europe as it seeks to turn around TfL's decision to not renew its licence. Lyft has raised around $2.6 billion in financing, which includes an investment amounting to $600 million in April, as per funding tracker Crunchbase.
London's transport regulator yesterday said it would not renew Uber's licence to operate, due to the firm's approach to reporting serious criminal offences and background checks on drivers.
Lyft has signaled already that it is looking at expansion outside the US. Chief executive Logan Green told the Associated Press in August that Lyft planned to go international ''in the not too distant future''.
Lyft boasts operations covering ride services in over 600 cities, covering as much as 95 per cent of the US population.
According to a news report in The Telegraph, which cited freedom of information records, while the talks did not state Lyft is getting into the UK market, they did show its interest in that market and in the city's transport policy. News of Lyft's interest comes only days after the TfL turned down renewal of Uber's licence, dealing the leading ridesharing company a major blow.
If Uber's appeal were to fail, it will no longer be able to operate in the city, and its market share would be up for grabs by competitors. According to The Telegraph, this would affect 40,000 drivers and 3.5 million customers.