Business

Car-sharing app Lyft arrives in Boston

In this Jan. 4, 2013 photo, Lyft passenger Christina Shatzen gets into a car driven by Nancy Tcheou in San Francisco. Fed up with traditional taxis, city dwellers are tapping their smartphones to hitch rides from strangers using mobile apps that allow riders and drivers to find each other. Internet-enabled ridesharing services such as Lyft, Uber and Sidecar are expanding rapidly in San Francisco, New York and other U.S. cities, billing themselves as a high-tech, low-cost alternative to cabs. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Lyft passenger Christina Shatzen got into a car driven by Nancy Tcheou in San Francisco. Fed up with traditional taxis, city dwellers are tapping their smartphones to hitch rides from strangers using mobile apps that allow riders and drivers to find each other as a high-tech, low-cost alternative to cabs.Credit: Jeff Chiu/AP

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The car-sharing service Lyft Inc. launches in Boston on Saturday as the latest start-up to bring its smartphone technology here to connect riders and drivers outside the bounds of the traditional taxicab system.

Boston is the first East Coast city for Lyft, and the service arrives as a growing number of other companies such as Uber, SideCar, and Hailo are already offering technologies for consumers to find rides from fellow commuters and professional drivers such as cabbies and livery services.

Their arrival has roiled the local cab industry and left regulators here and across the country unsure of exactly how to treat these emerging transportation companies.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s office would not comment on whether Lyft is an acceptable transportation service.

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