Lyft has been seen as a distant second place to Uber in the ride-sharing industry for quite some time. But Lyft had a pretty big 2017, and that should definitely scare Uber, especially after all the issues that Uber had in 2017. Lyft announced that in 2017 it increased its rides by 130%, giving 375.5 million rides throughout the year. Lyft passengers also grew 92% to 23 million, and Lyft drivers doubled to 1.4 million in the year. It's hard to compare this with Uber, since Uber doesn't announce its numbers, but based on analysts predictions for Uber, this is much closer than Lyft was at the end of 2016.
Of course, when it comes to operating internationally, Uber still has a big leg up – even after selling its China business. Uber is available in a slew of other countries right now, and is steadily expanding. Meanwhile Lyft is only available in the US (and not even the complete US, just 46 States as well as the District of Columbia), but it did expand to Canada late last year, and is only available in Toronto. So Lyft does have some catching up to do when it comes to expanding to other countries. But Lyft does have plans to expand to these other countries, there's just no word on when, just yet.
Both Uber and Lyft have been working pretty heavily on self-driving cars. While self-driving vehicles are the next big thing for the automotive industry, it's also a big deal for the ride-sharing industry. As it means that these companies won't need to rely on drivers anymore – and given the issues Uber had with drivers in 2017, that's a good thing. Uber has its own self-driving division, which has spent a lot of 2017 in court with Waymo. Meanwhile Lyft does also have a self-driving division, though it is mostly through General Motors. Since GM invested in Lyft, it has been working with the company to bring its Chevy Bolt EV's to the ride-sharing service, and has already started rolling them out in some areas.
Lyft obviously still has a ways to go, when it comes to catching up to Uber, but they are closing that gap. And for consumers, that's a good thing. Competition is almost always a good thing for consumers. And when it comes to ride-sharing, that could mean cheaper prices, better experiences and even shorter wait times, as more drivers get in on this new industry.