Over the past week, the allegations against both ridesharing companies have been flying, with Uber being accused by Lyft of ordering and then canceling over 5,000 rides from the rival company. Those allegations were immediately followed up with counter-accusations from Uber that Lyft employees had done the same thing, ordering and canceling 12,900 rides. Lyft claims that it determined the identity of Uber employees by cross-referencing the phone numbers of those who ordered and canceled against known Uber recruiters, while Uber offers no methodology for its accusations.
The practice of false-ordering rides has obvious results. It wastes the drivers’ time and gas, directly taking money out of their pockets, which is exactly what each company wants. One Uber recruiter was responsible for over 1,524 canceled rides over 21 accounts, while another performed 680 cancellations over 14 accounts.
These dirty tactics are just an escalation in the increasingly nasty war between the two ridesharing platforms. Uber, which came around before Lyft, has been using its established reputation and swelling coffers to bully Lyft at every turn. From undercutting Lyft’s prices to claiming that New York regulations prevented drivers from working for both companies to outright offering cash bonuses for Lyft drivers to switch to Uber, the larger company has been merciless and persistent. And with Uber’s $17 billion valuation vs Lyft’s $700 million, it can afford to be.
Lyft, which identifies itself with pink mustaches on the grills of its drivers’ cars, is clearly the underdog, but it has been doing its best to keep up, foregoing commissions in an attempt to attract more drivers and touting its friendliness as a selling point to riders.
According to Uber’s statement on Tuesday, this entire event was precipitated by Lyft’s desire to be acquired by Uber. Lyft’s investors have been pressuring Uber to acquire Lyft and put an end to all the competition, and when Uber did not make an acquisition attempt, Lyft followed through on its promise to “go nuclear” and released the statement accusing Uber.
Image from David Holt/Flickr