When a new service comes along, there's usually two parties that compete for dominance. There was Blu-Ray versus HDDVD, Betamax versus VHS, Best Buy versus Circuit City, and—in the ride-sharing business—we have Lyft versus Uber (versus all taxis). As these things go, business can get dirty when you have a direct competitor vying for the same customers—and in this case, Uber went full-on sneak attack.
A new report from CNNMoney says that since October of last year, Uber employees have booked and canceled 5,560 Lyft rides. Doing this messed with Lyft's drivers' availability, and wasted their time, fuel, and money as they went to pick up passengers who had no intention of getting picked up. This also could have been a way to get Lyft drivers frustrated, spurring them to leave Lyft for Uber after having so many passengers cancel. In all, the report says that 177 Uber employees participated in the country-wide scheme. A Uber recruiter, who was identified by seven Lyft drivers, canceled 300 rides from May 26 to June 10. The phone number the recruiter used was being used by 21 other accounts, which canceled 1,524 rides in all. Another recruiter used 14 accounts for 680 cancelations.
While Uber released a statement yesterday putting the blame on average passengers who could have been using the cancelations as a way to recruit drivers to Uber, which would earned them hundreds of dollars of Uber credits, CNNMoney is quick to point out that canceling the rides would have defeated the purpose.
"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," Lyft spokeswoman Erin Simpson said. "We remain focused on growing the business faster than any competitor through better customer experience and innovation."