Lyft opens up hubs across the country to get drivers on the road in a few hours

Key Points
  • Lyft has opened hubs in nine U.S. cities and has a 10th on the way.
  • The ride-hailing startup is looking to gain market share as larger rival Uber reels from scandal.
  • The facilities help with driver orientation and provide auto inspection.
Becoming a Lyft driver is easier than you may think

Lyft is using some of its $600 million in new funding to open driver-service centers—called hubs —to get drivers on the road in a matter of hours.

The company has centers in nine U.S. cities and is opening a 10th hub in the coming months, a spokesperson told CNBC, without disclosing the location. They're currently in cities that include Boston, Seattle, Los Angeles and Chicago and opened in Phoenix and Atlanta in June.

It's part of a wider effort by the start-up to take market share from Uber, which is reeling from the fallout over management misconduct.

A report earlier this month based on research from the firm TXN Solutions said Lyft's market share had risen to near 25 percent, from 21 percent two years earlier. That was before Uber CEO Travis Kalanick resigned from the company after reports detailed widespread sexual discrimination, bullying and other hostile workplace behavior.

Part orientation center, part vehicle-inspection station, Lyft said these hubs are helping the ride-hailing company get new drivers behind the wheel faster.

Grab a coffee, watch a training film, check the tires

Prospective Lyft drivers who've already passed a background check can get on the road in as little as an hour or two, says Mihir Gandhi, general manager of Lyft's northern California operations.

The number of safety checks Lyft makes on a prospective driver's car varies from state to state, Gandhi said. Because of the background check, the total time it takes between signing up and hitting the road for Lyft ranges from a handful of days to two weeks.

At Lyft's San Francisco hub, located on the edge of an industrial district between downtown and the airport, a line of drivers cues up to fill out paperwork, watch a training film and submit their car for inspection.

Some sip coffee and watch TV as they wait their turn.

Shane Watson, a Lyft driver in San Francisco, said it took him "an hour and five minutes" to complete the on-boarding process at the service center. "It's definitely pretty easy," he said.