By Drew Rauso
Capital News Service.
COLLEGE PARK, Md.
The giant stuffed pink moustache affixed to the front of Elizabeth Croydon’s silver Mazda Tribute isn’t just for decoration. It means she’s a driver for Lyft, one of the half-dozen ridesharing companies competing for passengers in Washington, D.C.
“I needed a job that I could work in between the hours of my standup comic career and freelancing gigs, and with Lyft, my car is my office,” said Croydon, who keeps water bottles, tissues and snacks for passengers in her car, and a pack of tarot cards she’s used to give readings at the end of the trip.
Croydon, who works as a standup comic and writer and began driving for Lyft earlier this year, is one of a growing number of drivers for the smartphone-app driven companies that serve as an alternatives to taxis.
Washington has become a battleground for ridesharing services of late, with companies like Lyft, Hailo, Sidecar and myTaxi all working toward unseating Uber at the top of the ridesharing food chain.
In April, Lyft and its pink moustache-adorned battalion of cars announced it had raised $250 million in venture capital funding, putting their total venture capital investment at $332 million, according to Betabeat, slightly ahead of Uber’s $307 million in venture capital.
Lyft also launched in 24 additional cities on April 24, bringing the total number of Lyft cities to 60. Uber is operating in 110 cities across the globe, but only 59 in the U.S.
In a city with so many riding options, Uber continues to be the most well-known in Washington, recently collaborating with Google Maps so that users can look up directions and hail an Uber without exiting the Google app.
To combat the competition, Lyft looks to its quirky, creative drivers to drive demand.