Lyft says it should be up and running in Toronto in time for the holidays

San Francisco (AFP) - US ride-sharing startup Lyft said Monday it is launching next month in Toronto, the first city in what is expected to be an international expansion for the Uber rival.

“Our passports are packed and we’re crossing the border. Before you know it, Lyft will be coming to you live in Toronto,” a blog from the California company said announcing its plans for the Canadian city.

“We’ve been looking forward to taking our brand of ride-sharing international for some time, and we’re super pumped to share this with our close friends up north.”

No specific launch date was announced but Lyft said it “will be around to help ring in the holidays,” presumably before Christmas.

Lyft announced last month a $1 billion investment led by the venture arm of Google parent Alphabet, to help ramp up its challenge to market leader Uber.

Lyft said the new funding gives it a valuation of $11 billion as it steps up competition against Uber, which is reeling from a series of missteps and scandals which have forced out its founder and chief executive.

Lyft has been expanding in the US market as Uber’s image has taken a hit in recent months. It has also been expanding its partnerships including with General Motors and the former Google Car unit now called Waymo.

Uber meanwhile on Sunday announced a $1 billion investment from SoftBank as part of a deal that could eventually give the Japanese tech giant a 14 percent stake through purchases from existing shareholders.