Tech-driven transportation companies Uber and Lyft rapidly developed from upstart startups into serious contenders for space in the transportation market. However, petty squabbles between the two companies threaten to compromise both.
The most recent volley in the war of ride-sharing: each company alleges that the other is responsible for thousands of call-and-cancel reservations that have unnecessarily taken up driver time and made the service unavailable to legitimate drivers looking for rides at the same time. Lyft claims that Uber employees called and canceled more than 5,000 rides, while Uber counters that Lyft is responsible for nearly 13,000 cancellations.
Uber and Lyft have been competing neck and neck for market dominance for several months, going so far as to release the same expanded program features (such as carpooling) within a week of one another. Both companies’ comments to the press are merely thinly-veiled snark.
However, the fallout from this schoolyard battle is hardly the least of their concerns. The main competition in coming months will be for drivers, as an Uber incentive for bonus pay ends and Lyft once again collects commission from drivers on a sliding scale. It will be intriguing to see how this rivalry stacks up when each company has more important battles to fight.
Will the better-backed Uber beat Lyft into permanent runner-up position…or absorb the company entirely? Or will Lyft, which claims to be moving toward an IPO, emerge victorious?
Which ride-sharing company do you prefer?
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