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San Francisco-based Lyft lays off dozens, shutters division

Lyft, the ride-hailing tech giant headquartered in San Francisco, is laying off about 60 people — in addition to entirely shuttering a division of its company.

A Lyft spokesperson said that the layoffs are primarily in this shuttered division as well as operations workers. According to the Wall Street Journal, which first broke the news, the layoffs comprise less than 2% of his workplace. (One count estimates that Lyft had 4,453 employees at the end of 2021.) Lyft announced Wednesday that it would be shuttering its first-person rental service, Lyft Rentals — and confirmed to SFGATE that the layoffs are largely in rentals.

The service launched in December 2019 — just months before the COVID-19 pandemic, which likely put strain on the service’s viability. It will maintain its third-party rentals service in partnership with Sixt and Hertz.

“We have decided to discontinue Lyft’s first party Rentals business to focus on our best-in-class third party Rentals with Sixt and Hertz,” a Lyft spokesperson told SFGATE in a statement. “This decision will ensure we continue to have national coverage and offer riders a more seamless booking experience.”

Discussions about ceasing its first-party rentals service, Lyft Vice President Cal Lankton said, according to the Journal, “accelerated as the economy made the business case unworkable.”

The Wall Street Journal report also says that as part of a company restructuring, Lyft is also closing a global operations office in Northern California.

These Lyft layoffs come among others during a particularly rough period for the tech industry, as economic headwinds have led once-bullish investors to dial back on funding. In May, its direct rival Uber announced a hiring freeze — as CEO Dara Khosrowshahi called for the company to “be even more hardcore about costs across the board.” Also on Wednesday, Google announced a two-week hiring freeze.

Lyft did not provide any details on laid-off employees’ severance benefits.

Despite what the company called a “better than we expected” Q1 in May, Lyft stock has plummeted to $14.70 a share as of Thursday morning, a third of its value from the beginning of the year.

Hear of anything going on at a Bay Area tech company? Contact Joshua Bote securely at joshuareybote@proton.me or on signal at (707) 742-3756.

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