A high-end car service backed by Daimler is launching in 8 US cities as it attempts to compete with Uber and Lyft

A high-end car service backed by Daimler is launching in 8 US cities as it attempts to compete with Uber and Lyft
Blacklane aims to launch the chauffeur-hailing service in 21 cities by the end of March.Blacklane
  • Upscale ride-hailing platform Blacklane launched an on-demand chauffeur service on Monday.
  • The service is starting in New York and will launch in 20 additional cities this month.
  • Blacklane also lets customers schedule a ride or pay by the hour.

Luxury ride-hailing firm Blacklane is introducing an on-demand chauffeur service to rival Uber Black and Lyft Lux.

The German-based company launched the new chauffeur service in New York on Monday, with plans to expand to 20 more cities - including London, Dubai, Berlin, Paris, France, Boston, Chicago, and Miami - by the end of March, it said in a Monday press release.

The startup, which counts Mercedes-parent Daimler as an investor, partners with local chauffeur companies to pick up customers in luxury cars like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5 Series, Audi A6, or Cadillac XTS, according to its website.
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With the service, Blacklane takes aim at business customers who want the amenities and service of a chauffeured car along with the practicality of a ride-hailing app. Another perk for businesses: unlike Uber or Lyft, Blacklane only charges riders by distance and doesn't add on fees for tolls or high demand, making its rates predictable.

Business travelers tend to be cash cows for transportation outfits like airlines and ride-hailing platforms, as they tend to spend more and bring higher margins than non-business passengers. Uber targets that sector with its Black taxis along with an enterprise offering, Uber for Business, that encompasses ride-hailing, food delivery, and a messenger service.

Though a handful have tried, no startup has made significant ground on competing with Uber and Lyft in the US. But as ride-hailing levels levels significantly depressed due to the pandemic, Blacklane thinks it may have a shot at gaining market share.
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Blacklane already operates in 50 countries, offering scheduled rides to and from airports along with an hourly service. Customers can also order rides between major cities for a flat rate. New York to Washington, DC, for example, costs $399, while Philadelphia to Atlantic City, New Jersey, costs $99.

Blacklane says it is carbon-neutral and is working on electrifying its global fleet. In January, the company acquired a majority stake in Havn, an all-electric chauffeur service owned by Jaguar Land Rover that uses the Jaguar I-Pace SUV.
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