It’s a shootout at the ride-sharing corral! (Lyft vs. Uber)

To paraphrase Rodney King, why can’t we all get along out there on the mean streets of crowd-sourcing America?

In the latest troubling chapter in the ongoing dispute between ride-sharing startups Lyft and Uber, the former is accusing the latter of messing with their drivers’ mojo.

How, you ask? Well, according to this report in Bloomberg:

Lyft Inc. is ramping up competition with Uber Technologies Inc., alleging that its rival is booking and then cancelling thousands of rides.

Lyft, a San Francisco-based ride-sharing startup, released data yesterday that said employees of rival Uber have ordered and backed out of more than 5,000 Lyft rides nationwide since October. In an e-mailed statement, Erin Simpson, a spokeswoman for Lyft, called the situation “unfortunate,” as requests for rides that don’t take place “wastes a driver’s time and impacts the next passenger waiting for that driver.”

In other words, the more phantom calls Lyft drivers waste their time responding to, the more real-live calls available for Uber drivers to swoop in on.

Essentially, while Lyft loses, Uber cruises.

The Bloomberg blog doesn’t explain how Lyft learned about this alleged nefarious behavior. Nor does Uber issue a statement in its defense. But the bottom line is, these allegations are adding fuel to an already raging fire of competition between the two companies:

Lyft made the allegations on the same day that it re-introduced a commission that it charges drivers. The company in April had suspended the fees it takes, in a bid to attract more drivers to join its service.

The rivalry has spurred tactics including the offer of incentives to poach one another’s drivers and debuting similar services at the same time.

According to the original report in CNN Money, Lyft apparently has the numbers to prove its allegation:

New data provided by Lyft, a competitor, shows that Uber employees have ordered and canceled more than 5,000 Lyft rides since last October. The data was provided to CNNMoney per a request made when reporting another story on the competition between the two companies.

It’s the taxi app version of ding-dong ditch.

And it’s not just a rogue employee or two: Lyft claims 177 Uber employees around the country have booked and canceled rides in that time frame.





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  • Mason

    Uber and Lyft “rolling up their sleeves” and getting scrappy shows how hot this space is, and how much each of them wants to take control of the market! Uber is definitely portrayed as the aggressor, whereas Lyft is seen as the friendly contender. From a San Francisco rider’s perspective, Uber is typically spoken of as the faster-to-arrive of the two, with more experienced drivers behind the wheel.