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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

For the first time, Uber will have competition in Gainesville.

Lyft, a ride-hailing app similar to Uber, officially launched March 9 in Gainesville, Alachua, Newberry and High Springs.

Rick Peters, a brand ambassador for Lyft, said although he can’t give a definite number, many Uber drivers have already signed up to work for Lyft in Alachua County.

“I would say that 95 percent of our sign-ups have been either current or former Uber drivers in Gainesville,” Peters said. “We are well ahead of our expectations for driver sign-ups.”

Lyft drivers have more of an incentive to make the switch from Uber, Peters said. For example, a passenger is able to tip a driver on their phone after a ride, which is a feature Uber does not offer.

Peters said Lyft’s Spring Break launch wasn’t to generate revenue but to introduce the company into Gainesville and UF’s bustling community.

“It was to get our name out there and have a few months to get the bugs out, so that come Fall — and football season — we are forefront and center, instead of being new to the game,” Peters said.

Not everyone is celebrating Lyft’s arrival.

Uber driver Jose Vilches said he already competes with other Uber drivers for business, and more competition on the road means less work for him.

“I’m not too thrilled about it,” the UF industrial and systems engineering senior said.

Vilches, 23, said he thinks Lyft will gain a strong customer base after people protested Uber nationwide in the wake of President Donald Trump’s immigration ban in January, according to Alligator archives.

Although Vilches said he may have a harder time finding customers, he thinks Uber will still flourish at UF.

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“Uber tends to have lower prices than Lyft,” Vilches said. “Especially in a college environment where people just want to get from point A to point B at the lowest cost possible, I think Uber will always be popular.”

Contact Molly Vossler at and follow her on Twitter at @molly_vossler 

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