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Lyft Looks to Set Itself Apart from Competition

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As more people discover Lyft for the first time, we're talking to the company to find out what they say sets them apart from the competition.

With Uber making headlines for all the wrong reasons, Lyft is looking to set itself apart from its biggest rival.

The two companies basically do the same thing - get people from point A to point B - but Lyft is using the opportunity to show off it's lighter corporate culture.

Lyft LA Market Manager Tim Houghton

One of those ways is by building community hubs in various cities. Recently I visited their new hub in Los Angeles, which opened in June. It's not a place for passengers to go, but a place where drivers can sign up for the service, ask questions and mingle with other drivers.

Lyft has been around for about 5 years, which is shorter than its rival Uber. Anecdotally, it seems that more friends and family are giving Lyft another look, but according to LA Market Manager Tim Houghton, "people are increasingly trying Lyft more."

The company prides itself on a more relaxed atmosphere for both drivers and passengers.

"We definitely try to have fun. We have a pink logo, we’re very bold," explained Houghton. Remember, Lyft is the ride sharing service that used to feature giant pink moustaches on the grills of cars - those are now gone.

In their place, a new digital sign called Amp that automatically displays a welcome message to passengers. Drivers must complete 250 rides before they're eligible to place the gadget on their dashboard.

Lyft is also focused on adding additional helpful features - like scheduled pickups, tipping and the ability to round up fares and donate the difference to a charity.

"We believe that if we treat drivers better, then they’re going to stay with Lyft and also, they’re going to treat passengers better," said Houghton.

I met with one of those drivers, Anthony Duran. He has been driving with Lyft since 2013.

"They want you to be yourself, they want you to innovate, they want you to build a connection. They want you to really build a community," said Duran. One of his earliest drives was pretty memorable. He picked up Conan O'Brien, comedian Kevin Hart and rapper Ice Cube in a makeshift skit for O'Brien's TBS show. The video has over 37 million views.

"We’re trying to make it less of a stranger dynamic and more of a friendly vibe. You shouldn’t feel uncomfortable nor should I, so while we’re in the car for the next 10 minutes, let’s have a decent good time" said Duran.

Duran has since expanded his role at Lyft, putting in hours at the LA Community Hub and helps onboard new drivers.

Lyft LA Driver Anthony Duran

Lyft's relaxed atmosphere and friendly vibe seem to be helping the company grow. Uber commands a whopping 80 percent of the rideshare market, according to expense report analytics from Certify. Still, Lyft is seeing growth. They now have just under 10 percent of the market.

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