Uber and Lyft are often in the same boat. They fight the same battles with legacy taxi service, but seem to now be turning on one another. A recent accusation made by Lyft suggests Uber is toying with them, creating fake Lyft requests, then canceling them.
Lyft provided data to CNN, wherein they assert Uber drivers from all over the country booked, then cancelled, over 5,000 Lyft rides since October of 2013. Lyft gathered info themselves, cross-referencing known Uber recruiter phone numbers with those that cancelled rides.
It’s not clear if Uber sanctioned these cancellations or not. Uber says they may not have been Uber recruiters canceling the rides at all, but fallout from a recent contest:
Both riders and drivers help recruit new drivers to the Uber platform, where the economic opportunity is unmatched in the industry. We recently ran a program where thousands of riders recruited drivers from other platforms, earning hundreds of dollars in Uber credits for each driver who tries Uber. Even Lyft drivers have participated in a successful campaign recruiting thousands of other Lyft drivers to Uber, where drivers make a better living than on any other platform.
Uber also calls Lyft’s accusations “patently false”.
Lyft’s issue is not only the numbers being padded, but lost revenue for Lyft drivers. Longer wait times for Lyft passengers are also a concern; Lyft drivers chasing their tail on fake fares only hurt the existing, real customers.
Those real customers would likely just open up the Uber app and request a ride if they weren’t getting what they wanted from Lyft.