According to CNNMoney, Lyft officials claim that Uber employees have been booking and then cancelling thousands of rides over the last nine months. A total of 5,560 Lyft rides have been negated by 177 Uber workers since October last year.
This strategy could work because booking a ride would make that car unavailable to others, thereby jamming Lyft’s schedules and forcing customers to look for other car-sharing platforms. Drivers suffer because they waste time and gas on fraudulent rides.
In a statement to CNET, Lyft Communications Director Erin Simpson said, “It’s unfortunate for affected community members that they have used these tactics, as it wastes a driver’s time and impacts the next passenger waiting for that driver. We remain focused on growing the business faster than any competitor through better customer experience and innovation.”
Lyft is convinced that recruiting drivers away from Lyft is at the center of Uber’s scheme. Some users have cancelled hundreds of rides from several accounts. A particular user’s phone number was linked to 21 different accounts and totaled 1,524 cancelled rides.
According to an Uber spokesperson replied to the sabotage theory, calling the accusation “patently false.” The Uber official added, “Both riders and drivers help recruit new drivers to the Uber platform, where the economic opportunity is unmatched in the industry. We recently ran a program where thousands of riders recruited drivers from other platforms, earning hundreds of dollars in Uber credits for each driver who tries Uber. Even Lyft drivers have participated in a successful campaign recruiting thousands of other Lyft drivers to Uber, where drivers make a better living than on any other platform.”
The fight for customers has been fierce between Uber and Lyft for the balance of their existence, and there subtle differences essentially determine who a customer sticks with. Some Lyft drivers wear purple mustaches on their cars; Uber drivers are encouraged to wear an illuminated “U” on their vehicles. As drivers are “free agents,” some drive for both companies, and opt not to wear the mustache or the U. Uber features surge pricing; prices can double or triple during busy times. Lyft has surge pricing, too, but they call it “prime time,” but during “happy hour” discounts are offered.
Uber raked in $360M in funding last year. Lyft raised $250M back in April. Uber serves 45 U.S. cities, while Lyft serves 30.
Featured image via Kevin N. Hume/The Chronicle
Have a tip we should know? email@example.com