When it comes to dial-a-ride services, Uber is the name at the top of everybody’s list. Recently valued at $18.2 billion, the app is available and operational in 42 countries and over 100 cities. How do you go about challenging such a giant?
Apparently, you can’t – as Uber won’t let you. Lyft is the closest thing Uber has to a competitor. It currently only operates within the US, so obviously it’s not as much of a competitor on a global scale, but in busy cities it can be an invaluable option for Americans in need of a ride.
Lyft claims that Uber has taken objection to this competition though and over the past year has been carrying out what could only be called acts of sabotage. Lyft claims that over 5,000 rides since October 2013 have been ordered through its app and then cancelled – all by Uber employees. 177 of them, in fact.
Of course, this practice is a massive hindrance for Lyft. Drivers in any given area are a limited resource. When they’re ordered for pickup and that pickup is then cancelled at the last minute, that’s precious time they could have spent taking someone else’s genuine order and driving to them. It also costs the drivers themselves, as the petrol money comes out of their own pockets.
One particular passenger was even identified by seven different Lyft drivers as an Uber employee. That employee ordered and cancelled 300 rides between May 26th and June 10th 2013. That employee was connected to a further 21 alternative Lyft accounts, for a grand total of 1,524 cancelled rides.
Sometimes these Uber employees don’t cancel their rides, but instead enter the vehicle and try to persuade the Lyft driver to join the competition.
Lyft spokesperson 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.”
Uber is yet to issue a response.