November 14, 2017 8:17 am
Updated: November 14, 2017 8:29 am

Coun. Jesse Helmer says if Lyft wants to expand past Toronto, London’s ready

This undated photo provided by Lyft shows an illuminated Lyft beacon. Ride-hailing service Lyft, the underdog rival to Uber, is getting rid of its iconic pink moustache logo and replacing it with something more useful: a beacon.

Associated Press/ Lyft

Another ride-hailing service is coming north of the border, and its Canadian debut is just down the highway from London.

Lyft, a competitor of Uber, announced Monday it plans to launch in Toronto by year’s end, making it the company’s first international market.

READ MORE: Lyft aiming for December launch in Toronto

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The company has not yet said whether its plans include expansion into surrounding areas like London.

Ward 4 Coun. Jesse Helmer told 980 CFPL that the city already has the regulatory framework necessary for the expansion, and Lyft is known for being open to working together with communities.

“I think we’ve done the majority of the work when we modernized the regulatory framework to allow companies like Uber,” said Helmer. “Throughout that whole discussion I was always emphasizing that it wasn’t all about Uber, it’s about allowing lots of different companies to compete in this service, and just because they aren’t in Canada yet doesn’t mean they aren’t coming.”

Helmer says although there is no timeline of when Lyft could expand further into the country, the company branching out into Canada is a good sign for other markets.

“I’m not sure what we have to do in terms of reaching out to them to encourage them. They do their own market research about what markets make sense. I think making the decision to come to a Canadian market at all is the first step, and from there they will look at various cities in Canada and I’m sure roll out their service in those markets.”

READ MORE: Ride sharing legislation passes in Winnipeg

Helmer said a staff report will be tabled at the committee level next year that reviews how Uber rolled out in London and its timing fits well with Lyft’s Canadian launch.

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