Uber throws sabotage accusations back at Lyft

The claws are out at the two popular on-demand car service startups as more allegations of canceled rides surface.

Donna Tam Staff Writer / News
Donna Tam covers Amazon and other fun stuff for CNET News. She is a San Francisco native who enjoys feasting, merrymaking, checking her Gmail and reading her Kindle.
Donna Tam
2 min read


To defend itself from allegations of sabotage, Uber is throwing the blame back at Lyft.

On-demand car service Uber released a statement Tuesday, saying its pink mustache-donning competitor has been encouraging the booking and canceling of thousands of rides. On Monday, Lyft accused Uber of the same tactic. Ordering and canceling rides reduces the number of cars available for passengers who are actually looking for a ride, making the service look like it has fewer drivers.

Lyft's accusations that Uber employees canceled 5,560 Lyft rides are "baseless and simply untrue," said an Uber spokeswoman in a statement.

To throw more fuel on the fire, Uber said Lyft employees, including a founder, have canceled 12,900 Uber trips in the past. Uber claimed that Lyft's ride canceling was probably prompted by Uber's reluctance to purchase the rival on-demand car startup.

"These attacks from Lyft are unfortunate but somewhat expected," said Uber's statement. "A number of Lyft investors have recently been pushing Uber to acquire Lyft. One of their largest shareholders recently warned that Lyft would 'go nuclear' if we do not acquire them. We can only assume that the recent Lyft attacks are part of that strategy."

Lyft quickly rebuffed the claims, releasing a statement Tuesday that accuses Uber of lying. Lyft also highlighted that it's almost making enough money to consider an initial public offering, implying it doesn't need a buyer.

"Once again Uber is deceiving the public, now with false allegations and an attempt to deflect from their illegal cancel campaign," said Lyft in a statement. "Lyft has more than 100 investors, all of whom are extremely excited that Lyft is approaching IPO-level revenue. Our 'nuclear' strategy is continuing to take market share with 30 percent month-over-month growth, while building the strongest community of drivers and passengers."

The ride-sharing companies are two of the most popular services providing on-demand car services through smartphone apps. Widely known for controversy and competitiveness, both Lyft and Uber have been growing quickly and running promotions to lure passengers and drivers away from each other's service.

Operating in more than 100 cities globally, Uber's network of private car, taxi, and peer-to-peer drivers dwarfs Lyft's peer-to-peer system, which is currently in 65 cities in the US.

Lyft ignited this fight by sharing its concerns with CNNMoney, which published the information Monday. At the time, Uber responded a bit more civilly, saying that the accusations were false. In the past, Uber has admitted to using driver recruiting tactics involving canceled rides that it considered " likely too aggressive."