Ride-sharing app Lyft expands to ABQ, 23 other markets

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Lyft, the on-demand ride-sharing app best known by the fuzzy pink moustaches on its cars, is launching its service in 24 new U.S. markets — including Albuquerque.

The expansion nearly doubles the startup’s U.S. markets and includes smaller cities such as Fresno, California; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Corpus Christi, Texas.

The move comes as rival ride sharing service Uber is expanding internationally, with a launch in Beijing earlier this week.

San Francisco-based Lyft says it is now available in 60 U.S. cities, up from just one — San Francisco — at the beginning of 2013.

Uber, meanwhile, is available in 100 cities worldwide; Albuquerque isn’t one of them.

Ride-sharing apps are growing in popularity as people look beyond cabs and car rentals to get around.

But they’re also facing regulatory and legislative scrutiny and opposition from traditional taxi services.

Arizona just last week passed legislation that would exempt Uber and Lyft from the same regulations that traditional taxi and limo companies have. The bill is in the hands of Gov. Jan Brewer, who has expressed concerns about it.

Proponents say government should stay out of the way and let new companies like Uber innovate, and opponents say the lack of regulations pose a public safety threat.

“We’re so afraid of freedom. It’s like it’s the boogey man,” said State Rep. Warren Petersen, R-Gilbert, a supporter of the bill.

Many, including conservative Republicans, said they still have insurance and passenger safety concerns.

The issue became heated nationwide after a 6-year-old girl was killed in a crosswalk by a driver logged into the Uber app in San Francisco on New Year’s Eve. The girl’s family contends Uber is financially responsible because the driver was waiting for customers. Uber says it isn’t liable because no passengers were in the car.

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