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Lyft to roll out in New York City with free rides for new users

Going head to head with Uber, the ride-sharing service brings its pink mustache to Brooklyn and Queens.

Lyft distinguishes its cars with a fuzzy pink mustache. Lyft

New York City appears to be where the newest turf battle between Uber and Lyft is playing out. On the heels of Uber announcing it's cutting the price of UberX rides in the city, Lyft has revealed that it's debuting its service in several of New York's boroughs.

Starting on Friday, July 11, pink mustachioed cars will roll out to Brooklyn and Queens offering up rides that the peer-to-peer car-sharing service claims are cheaper and safer than yellow cabs.

"Now, residents and visitors looking to travel in between boroughs, get a ride to the closest subway station, or head out for a night on the town can easily request a safe and friendly ride," Lyft wrote in a blog post. "As always, safety is our top priority and every driver has undergone a screening process that is more stringent than what's required for NYC taxis, including a strict background check, vehicle inspection and $1,000,000 insurance that provides more than three times the $300,000 minimum for taxis."

Lyft is launching in New York City with more than 500 drivers and a focus on Brooklyn and Queens. The company says more than 75,000 people have already opened its app in the region.

Lyft competitor Uber has already established itself in New York City and forged the way for car-hailing apps in the region. It's battled it out with city regulators and the Taxi and Limousine Commission to get permission for ride-sharing apps in the city's boroughs. On Monday, Uber announced that it's slashing the price of its UberX transportation in the city by 20 percent, making rides cheaper than yellow cabs for the first time. On Tuesday, New York's attorney general announced that Uber has agreed to put a limit on its price surging rates when demand is high due to widespread emergencies like Hurricane Sandy.

The two companies have gone head-to-head over the last few months, announcing competitive price cuts and launching in the same cities. Uber has marketed itself as a global on-demand car service, while Lyft touts itself as more of a community-oriented service. Uber recently launched in its 100th city worldwide, and has its peer-to-peer service in about 47 US cities. In contrast, Lyft is in roughly 60 US cities.

To kick off its New York City launch, Lyft is offering all new passengers in the area two weeks of free rides.