State College taxi companies have a new competitor coming to town — Lyft. After the seemingly successful launch and viral spread of the ridesharing service Uber, its biggest rival has decided to enter the State College market.
In February, 2015, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, the organization that oversees public utilities and services such as transportation in the commonwealth, approved Lyft to expand outside of Philadelphia and into King of Prussia, Mt. Lebanon-Bethel Park, and Pittsburgh. Its next stop is State College.
According to a prospective driver, Lyft has sent out text messages to people in the area to recruit their drivers for the ridesharing app.
Both Uber and Lyft have unique business models that allow anyone with an insured vehicle that is 2006 model year or newer in Pennsylvania to earn money picking up passengers like traditional taxi companies. Passengers in the area can easily request to be picked up based on their location with their mobile app.
Lyft’s entrance into the State College market marks the continuance a long and hard fought battle it has had with Uber across the US and internationally. The two startups have disrupted major traditional taxi markets in every city that they enter. In February, 2016, Philadelphia taxi drivers protested in Center City by blocking the roads with their vehicles after Uber and Lyft flooded the market with drivers and hurt their businesses. Uber has prided itself on decreasing the amount of DUIs in Philadelphia and in many other cities after they launch.
After Uber launched last year, many State College taxi companies began displaying “Buy Local” stickers on their vehicles and on random places downtown.
As of now, a firm start date for Lyft’s launch in State College hasn’t been publicly made and requests for comment from Lyft Public Relations went unanswered.