Rival car-hire apps Uber and Lyft accuse each other of ordering thousands of fake trips

Underhand ploys aimed at gaining the upper hand in billion-dollar industry

Whether it’s Google vs Apple or Xbox vs PlayStation, rivalries in the tech industry can be desperate affairs. This week, rival cab hire apps Uber and Lyft added to this history with a bit of low-key corporate sabotage.

The two San Francisco-based companies have accused each other of ordering and cancelling thousands of rides to disrupt their rival's services, with the smaller Lyft kicking things off with a set of data shared with CNN.

Lyft (whose drivers identify their vehicles with pink moustaches mounted on the grill) claimed 177 Uber employees have placed more than 5,000 fake requests for rides; a tactic designed to decrease the availability of Lyft’s drivers but that also damages their income.

Uber, however, has responded in typically strident style, denouncing Lyft’s claims as “baseless and simply untrue” before adding that “Lyft’s own drivers and employees, including one of Lyft’s founders, have cancelled 12,900 trips on Uber”.

Uber, which was founded in 2009, did not provide any further details on how it had tracked the fake bookings, but Lyft told CNN that it had logged several phone numbers associated with Uber recruiters.

Lyft has a built a reputation for friendly service, with drivers encouraged to fist-bump passengers and identify their cars with pink moustaches.

One individual reportedly created 21 separate accounts on Lyft and racked up a total of 1,524 cancelled rides from October 2013. Journeys that the individual did actually take were reportedly short trips “devoted to luring [Lyft drivers] to working for Uber”.

Uber has been accused of these shady practices before, and in January this year promised to “tone down” its “sale tactics” after New York black cab app Gett complained that its staff had ordered and cancelled hundreds of cars over the course of three days.

All of these companies are competing to supplant the taxi industry but it seems they need to sort out a winner among themselves first. So far Uber has the lead, with a valuation of $17 billion to Lyft’s $700 million and services available in nearly three times the number of markets.  

Lyft, however, claims that its "nuclear" tactics of aggressive pricing and driver recruitment is paying off, with a spokesperson telling the New York Times that that the company was approaching IPO-level revenue with “30 per cent month-over-month growth”. Let's hope they remembered to eliminate all those cancelled rides from those numbers.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

    Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

    Ashdown Group: Linux Administrator - London - £50,000

    £45000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Linux Systems Administrator ...

    Ashdown Group: Business Intelligence Analyst - London - £45,000

    £40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: SQL Server Reporting Analyst (Busine...

    Day In a Page

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower