In the ridesharing rivalry between Uber and Lyft, the gloves came off with the start of 2014. But the fighting got more intense this week, with Lyft accusing Uber employees of trying to jam its computer system.
Here are the five most notable battles and attacks this year between the two rivals:
1. Lyft accuses Uber employees of denial-of-service attack
Lyft this week said its data show that at least 177 known Uber employees have opened up the Lyft app, requested a ride and subsequently canceled it as part of a strategy to jam Lyft’s service and prompt customers to use Uber instead, according to CNN Money. Since October, Uber employees have done this at least 5,560 times, according to Lyft. Most recently, this kind of attack occurred during Lyft’s launch in New York City, Lyft told The Times.
Uber denied the attacks and has instead accussed Lyft’s employees, drivers and one of its co-founders of canceling 12,900 trips on Uber’s app.
“These attacks from Lyft are unfortunate but somewhat expected,” an Uber spokeswoman told The Times. “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.”
2. Uber outfunds Lyft
This April, Lyft secured $250 million in venture capital funding, gaining resources necessary to catch up to Uber. But not one to be outdone, Uber in June announced that it had raised $1.2 billion.
3. Driver poaching
Uber has reportedly poached Lyft drivers by offering them bonuses since last year, but after securing its $250-million venture capital funding, Lyft began using similar tactics, according to Forbes. In May, Lyft rented a lot in San Francisco across the street from Uber’s car inspection center and lured Uber drivers by offering them free tacos and other goodies. Both offered drivers as much as $500 to switch sides, according to the Forbes report.
4. Carpool services
Last week, the two companies created a new battle front by simultaneously launching carpooling services. On Monday and Tuesday, Lyft contacted reporters to alert them about its service Lyft Line, which would be publicly announced the next day. But a few hours later, Uber unveiled UberPool on its online blog, beating Lyft to the punch.
5. Lyft temporarily stops taking commissions
Shortly after securing funding in April, Lyft announced that it would not take any commissions from drivers and cut fares by 10% in all its markets, undercutting Uber rates.
Uber did not respond to Lyft’s move and continued to take commissions from its drivers.
This week, Lyft restored its commission but revamped it: The more hours drivers work for Lyft, the less commission they have to pay.
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