Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses Transportation

The Fiercest Rivalry In Tech: Uber vs. Lyft 125

Posted by timothy
from the follow-that-car-driver dept.
onehitwonder (1118559) writes WSJ looks at the cantankerous rivalry between two popular ride-sharing companies, Uber and Lyft, and the dirty tactics each employs to weaken its opponent. Lyft, for example, alleges that representatives from Uber frequently order short rides from Lyft just to slow down Lyft's service and to try to poach its drivers. WSJ points out that the rivalry is more than just a made-for-TV competition: "It's a battle for a key role in the future of urban transportation." Lyft certainly isn't Uber's only rival, though, even setting aside conventional taxis and car services, even those two names are big in U.S. cities: its clash with Gett has reportedly involved tricks at least as dirty. Another way to look at the rivalry, too, is that the biggest clash is not between Uber and any other particular company, but rather between the various ride-calling / ride-sharing services taken together against the existing, regulated taxi and car-service companies they threaten.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The Fiercest Rivalry In Tech: Uber vs. Lyft

Comments Filter:
  • Dirty tactics (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Thanshin (1188877) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @08:33AM (#47654297)

    To be able to correctly understand this piece of news, I'd need a definition on the criteria to identify a corporation's action as "dirty tactic".

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Pretty much anything they do these days, seemingly.

    • Re:Dirty tactics (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @09:15AM (#47654575)

      Any action which directly interferes with your competitions business, done with that sole intention. So booking lifts and not taking them up, or booking lots of short trips which put competitors drivers out of position or otherwise unlikely to be able to pick up the more lucrative jobs (ie, have an employee travel to the middle of an industrial estate right when a major train or bus arrives, so your drivers get the more lucrative jobs).

      The link is very interesting, and if true it shows a concerted effort to disrupt Ubers competitors through anti-competitive behaviour.

    • To be able to correctly understand this piece of news, I'd need a definition on the criteria to identify a corporation's action as "dirty tactic".

      Then maybe you should take 30 seconds and RTFA.

      "...over the past few weeks, Uber employees have been posing as pedestrians, creating Gett accounts for the sole purpose of scheduling and then canceling Gett rides. The result is clear: wasted time for Gett drivers, fewer available rides for Gett users, and general disarray for the whole service."

      For example.

      • by jxander (2605655)

        I think the point was less about the tactics themselves, but rather who is calling such things dirty.

        The things these guys are doing barely qualify as minor shenanigans compared to the dirty tricks that big business pull

        Glass houses, and all

    • Re:Dirty tactics (Score:5, Interesting)

      by NotDrWho (3543773) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @09:48AM (#47654871)

      I even heard Uber was encouraging Lyft drivers to put stupid pink mustaches on their cars, ensuring that the service would be seen as a hopelessly hipster/metrosexual by mainstream riders and would be forever relegated to a small niche market of people not ashamed to be seen in said cars.

      Oh no, wait. Lyft did that to THEMSELVES.

      • >stupid pink mustaches

        Who cares? They're very easily identifiable, especially from in front of the car, which is the perspective from which you will first see the car as it pulls in to pick you up, but where you can't generally see stickers or vinyl wraps.

        >hopelessly hipster/metrosexual...ashamed to be seen in said cars.

        It's 2014 and you are "ashamed" to ride in a car with something pink on it?

        • by NotDrWho (3543773)

          It's 2014 and you are "ashamed" to ride in a car with something pink on it?

          No, I'm ashamed to ride in a car with an incredibly gaudy giant pink mustache on it. And I'm even more ashamed for the poor driver who is forced to put that embarrassment on their car by a company that obviously hasn't grown up yet. I (and most other riders, I suspect) would prefer a professional company and a ride in a clean, discreet car that doesn't make me want to hide my face in embarrassment.

          • by xevioso (598654)

            So pink is not professional?

            Mustaches are not professional? I'm a professional and I have a gigantic, huge mustache. Do you have something against facial hair?

            Perhaps you don't understand the point of successful branding, which involves getting your name/logo/colors out there in front of as many people as possible, so people will remember you, use your service, thus making you a profit. This is called being professional.

            I don't think that word professional means what you think it means.

          • by mjwx (966435)

            It's 2014 and you are "ashamed" to ride in a car with something pink on it?

            No, I'm ashamed to ride in a car with an incredibly gaudy giant pink mustache on it. And I'm even more ashamed for the poor driver

            Here you've only demonstrated your own insecurity.

            A real man can drive a bright pink Fiat Punto with the window down without a care for the opinions of insecure fools. Of course, being a gentleman he also prefers to use three pedals.

        • by xevioso (598654)

          Even worse, he's ashamed to ride in a car with a mustache on it, which, as a mustached-American, I find quite offensive.

  • This is the very reason we have regulations in the first place. Why is the government not stepping in and making them register like any other taxi service?
    • by zuckie13 (1334005)
      Plenty have put in cease and desist orders, and told them to register. The companies have decided they don't have to, and just keep operating. At this point, it's going to take a court to stop them.
      • by Entropius (188861)

        What are they doing that hurts their customers that warrants a cease-and-desist?

        • If they are operating illegally in a particular area, that warrants either criminal prosecution or civil penalties as appropriate to the law in question. You don't get to choose what laws you follow.

          • Like the authorities who made those "laws" don't have to follow the laws limiting their authority--or the Feds whose actual job is to ensure natural rights don't have to enforce them in the States, only civil ones when they're politically useful?

            Bullshit. The actual authors of this union's Constitution stated, repeatedly, frankly, any law that infringes or nullifies a right can, what? Be abrogated by the citizen with impugnity. It's only "radical" because dura lex sine jusiticia reigns once again.

            I'm
            • And it's damn time the boomers start getting off'd by their dementia

              Hmm... that's quite a chip on your shoulder you have there. How young are you? Mom still telling you what to do?

              Go learn to think before

              Which invariably means "I hate it that you have different thoughts to me."

              I live in Colorado, btw, notorious for this: the excuse here is that the cabs are a public utility. Strange that if I give a neighbor a lift for free it's legal but if he pays for gas it's technically and suddenly not.

              I expect you've got that wrong. Fuel sharing is usually perfectly legal. Laws requiring special licenses for commercial driving are generally phrased in terms of "for reward", which a genuine fuel share isn't.

          • by Entropius (188861)

            I said "hurting their customers", not "breaking a law established for the benefit of a cartel".

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Your regulations (especially limited medallions) have caused more waste than these "dirty tactics" do. If your claim is "I don't support medallions, but instead some better regulation than the status quo", then at this point you really need to explain why you think the government is listening to your opinion at all (as opposed to special interests and economic elites). They've had decades to eliminate medallions, and now people are suggesting changes only because Lyft and Uber have forced the issue.

      How abou

      • by plopez (54068)

        "Your regulations (especially limited medallions) have caused more waste than these "dirty tactics" do"

        can you back that up with any stats?

      • HAHAHAHAHA! That's cute son. But no, let me spell it out for you. This is the way things are going to go:

        1) New way of doing something makes a buck.
        2) Uber or Lyft or whoever pop up and lambast regulation that keeps them from making a buck. They promote competition.
        3) The competition gets ugly,
        4) Uber or Lyft will sue one another for blatantly malicious acts meant to destroy the competition. Everyone* agrees things got out of hand. Everyone* agrees that you really shouldn't... say... profile your clients fo

      • Who said "medalions" need eliminating. Medalions are a device to enforce proper insurance, roadworthy vehicles, qualified drivers and a maintainable level of taxis. For why a free for all can be a bad idea, see the tragedy of the commons.

    • In NYC, they have. Both Uber and Lyft in NYC operate as standard "black car" service companies, using only Taxi & Limo Commission licensed vehicles and drivers. They don't operate the "ride sharing" part of the business here.

    • by Dishevel (1105119)
      I am actually a systems manager (Servers, Radios, Mobile Computers and Such) for a cab company.

      Regulation had some use long ago. With the internet regulation really only serves the entrenched big companies and the regulators at the expense of innovation and the customers.

      I see it all the time. My company does it. The agency that permits taxis in our area checks A/C, parking brake, paint job and window tint. You could tow the fucking thing in with no steering and it would pass.

    • by Entropius (188861)

      They're doing dirty tricks to each other. The service they provide to customers is still better than the city cabs.

      We don't need "regulations" here. If Uber and Lyft are getting trolled by each other then they will need to build anti-troll safeguards into their business model, which they are able to do on their own. There's no problem here that rules from City Hall (other than the standard ones against fraud, like requesting a ride with no intent to actually use it) will fix.

  • So why does nobody think they'll get kidnapped by random strangers who use Uber and Lyft?
    • Re:I don't get it (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Noah Haders (3621429) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @11:41AM (#47655831)

      So why does nobody think they'll get kidnapped by random strangers who
      drive cabs ?

      ftfy. ive taken a lot of uber and lyft rides, and every ride has been better than the typical sketchy smelly rude cab driver.

      • by mjwx (966435)

        So why does nobody think they'll get kidnapped by random strangers who
        drive cabs ?

        ftfy. ive taken a lot of uber and lyft rides, and every ride has been better than the typical sketchy smelly rude cab driver.

        If traditional taxi services die... where do you think the smelly, rude cab drivers will go?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Anybody who picks them over a black cab driven by someone who's done the Knowledge and who is subject to regular testing is either a clueless tourist or a helpless dullard.

    So many times we've seen previously well state-regulated transportation services undercut by the "free market", which has waited until the older services have been driven out of business before setting up a new monopoly on their terms. The Beeching Axe of the '60s was nothing more than a guy with an ownership a highway-building company on

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Do you really think the man who opened all of Tesla's patents to the public has wealth as his highest aspiration?
      • by mwvdlee (775178)

        No. How about the man who opened a strategically selected subset of Tesla's patents in order to improve the network of charging points Tesla's cars depend on?

      • Do you really think the man who opened all of Tesla's patents to the public has wealth as his highest aspiration?

        Wealthy people don't generally think about things like that - unless they're psycho/sociopaths, like Wall Street bankers, for whom it's just a game where the one with the most "wins".

      • by gnupun (752725)

        He opened only those patents related to charging. The intent behind this is not charity, rather he wants synergy with other electric car manufacturers.

        Without standardization, you'll have a charger T for teslas, charger F for Fords, charger N for Nissans etc. This is not feasible for even a handful of electric car manufacturers.

    • Really good post.

      Until you got to the Beeching Axe and you started sounding like a nostalgic train anorak.

      Then you got to Boeing and SpaceX of all topics and it just went worse from there on.

      The Beeching Axe almost got British Rail back to profitability. SpaceX is just a competitor for Boeing Defense, Space & Security, which Boeing damn well needs, after acquiring all of its previous competitors like Rocketdyne, McDonnell Douglas and Hughes.

      • The Beeching Axe was a horrendous mistake. We now need again many of those railway lines that were scrapped, as the road system isn't scalable enough, and population keeps on growing.

        Rail transport is a public service, it's not meant to be profitable. Countries with decent rail transport all subsidise them.

        It's also a big mistake to privatise them.

    • by umghhh (965931)
      I think British public services are a perfect example of privatization that went wrong. I wonder if some good examples also could be provided for services like public transport, health care, water etc. It works well in Gemany where communities own water companies, gas and energy companies and even housing estates. The later was a hot thing to sell few years back and some communities want to buy them back because private ownership proved inefficient. As per a documentary I saw on telly some time ago this se
    • by u38cg (607297) <calum@callingthetune.co.uk> on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @09:51AM (#47654893) Homepage
      Speaking as a Londoner, I can live without a detailed knowledge of what's running in the West End and just make do with being taken to my destination for half the cost.
    • by gmhowell (26755)

      Looks like it's Ttuesday.

      • Looks like it's Tuesday.

        Worse than that; it's actually Patch Tuesday - a day when people get especially twitchy.

    • Anybody who picks them over a black cab driven by someone who's done the Knowledge and who is subject to regular testing is either a clueless tourist or a helpless dullard.

      bahaha knowledge and testing. what you mean cab drivers? that's insane. who tests them? for what? lulzzzzzz

      • Seems like he might have been referring to this, moron.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T... [wikipedia.org]

        Here are the relevant bits...

        The taxicab driver is required to be able to decide routes immediately in response to a passenger's request or traffic conditions, rather than stopping to look at a map, relying on satellite navigation or asking a controller by radio. ...

        It is the world's most demanding training course for taxicab drivers, and applicants will usually need at least twelve 'appearances' (attempts at the final test), after preparation averaging 34 months, to pass the examination.

        Next time you feel like being a pretentious twat, why don't you just keep it to yourself.

        -AndrewBuck

        • loooool in US there are no requirements other than being a dickass.

          btw, I know london is a socialist state, but have you ever heard of the free market? If uber drivers are shit and get lost, then nobody will use them duh. why would you need to know everywhere by heart when you could just use GPS?
    • by xevioso (598654)

      Part of this is that in London you need to pass tests about how complicated your streets are, because they were designed haphazardly going back, well, at least a thousand years?

      Here in places like Phoenix or New York, for example, we have things like numbered "streets" and "avenues" that make it convenient for someone with a bare amount of this "knowledge" you speak of to drive a person from point A to B.

  • by GlennC (96879) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @08:40AM (#47654343)

    Between this nonsense and the fact that the ride sharing services don't have the proper licensing and proof of insurance, I wouldn't feel comfortable using any of them.

    • by King_TJ (85913) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @09:12AM (#47654553) Journal

      I agree that underhanded tactics make them both look bad, but personal experience using Uber, at least, tells me the service is typically quite good.

      In Virginia, both Lyft and Uber were allowed to start legally operating again, under a specific set of rules:

      - They must meet a set of regulations to promote passenger safety, have appropriate insurance and comply with Virginia laws.
      - The companies agreed to run background checks of drivers, including criminal and driving histories
      - Drivers must have a valid driver’s license and must be 21 or older. Their vehicles must be four-door, carry no more than seven passengers at time and must have a valid registration and inspection.
      - The companies and the state also agreed on checks on rate transparency and documentation. And drivers are not allowed to accept street hails.

      I think all of this sounds pretty reasonable, and IMO, it's fair to consider them a new way of doing business, vs. the traditional taxi cab services.

    • Between this nonsense and the fact that the ride sharing services don't have the proper licensing and proof of insurance, I wouldn't feel comfortable using any of them.

      You'd feel more comfortable in a (licensed, etc) taxi with a driver that has obviously just fallen off the boat, doesn't speak the language doesn't know the roads (relying on GPS) and may or may not actually have earned their driver's license (easy to buy such in some countries, then exchanging them legally for a local license depeing on the agreements in place between states/countries)?

      I've used Uber a few times and so far the experience has been just fine.

      • Between this nonsense and the fact that the ride sharing services don't have the proper licensing and proof of insurance, I wouldn't feel comfortable using any of them.

        You'd feel more comfortable in a (licensed, etc) taxi with a driver that has obviously just fallen off the boat, doesn't speak the language doesn't know the roads (relying on GPS) and may or may not actually have earned their driver's license (easy to buy such in some countries, then exchanging them legally for a local license depending on the agreements in place between states/countries)?

        All of which, of course, could apply to Uber/Lyft drivers...

        • by xevioso (598654)

          But generally don't.

          • But generally don't.

            They also generally don't apply to Taxi drivers either - which was my point.

        • Between this nonsense and the fact that the ride sharing services don't have the proper licensing and proof of insurance, I wouldn't feel comfortable using any of them.

          You'd feel more comfortable in a (licensed, etc) taxi with a driver that has obviously just fallen off the boat, doesn't speak the language doesn't know the roads (relying on GPS) and may or may not actually have earned their driver's license (easy to buy such in some countries, then exchanging them legally for a local license depending on the agreements in place between states/countries)?

          All of which, of course, could apply to Uber/Lyft drivers...

          Could and do - but since trying Uber I've had more locals than imports as compared to taxis.

    • by Type44Q (1233630) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @09:48AM (#47654869)

      Between this nonsense and the fact that the ride sharing services don't have the proper licensing and proof of insurance, I wouldn't feel comfortable using any of them.

      Hold up. You're generalizing, as well as mixing inaccuraries with implications that are downright false, in a rather blatant attempt to create a strawman... but unfortunately there are people here who have paid careful-enough attention to this debate that it's become rather easy to sniff out the taxi industry's bullshit:

      It's true that Uber's "economy class" service (UberX) relies upon everyday folks* who possess their own [presumably non-commercial] insurance... but you've conveniently neglected to mention that Uber takes out a million dollars' worth of commercial auto liabilility for each of these drivers.

      Uber's "premium services" (UberBlack and UberSUV) rely upon existing limo-service providers who possess all the requisite permits, licenses and commercial insurance coverage required by their respective municipal authorities.

      *I've seen the way taxi drivers in New York, LA, Chicago, Dallas and elsewhere tend to drive... so you can shut the fuck up with your suggestion that these so-called "professionals" are somehow any safer than the Average Joe would be behind the wheel.

      • by GlennC (96879)

        I'm just giving my opinion, and I've been in plenty of taxis in Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta and elsewhere.

        If you don't agree with my opinion, I have no problem with that.

        Since the Uber premium services rely on existing limo services, why wouldn't I just go directly to those service providers? Although if I were in a position where I couldn't find one, Uber could potentially be useful in that situation.

        Also, it's nice that Uber provides additional insurance, but the point is that in most locations, Uber, Lyft

  • Tech Rivalry? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @09:02AM (#47654475) Homepage Journal

    This is just low-down mafia-level diversion bullshit. This isn't rivalry, and Uber/Lyft aren't fucking tech, they're taxi services that HAPPEN to be tied to using a smartphone - guess what Taxi drivers are tied to all day? A smartphone AND a CB radio AND a bunch of other shit that makes them actually worthy of the tech title.

    Submitter should be stopped from posting any more stories until he figures out exactly what is tech worthy. Of course, given the 7 digit UID, not likely.

    • by Rockoon (1252108)

      Submitter should be stopped from posting any more stories until he figures out exactly what is tech worthy.

      If it was possible to stop timothy, it would have already happened. Ergo, he is apparently unstoppable.

    • by Trepidity (597)

      Yes, thinking of Uber and Lyft as taxi businesses rather than tech businesses makes it a lot clearer what's going on. The taxi business has long been shady, and it still is even when the taxi company has an app.

    • This is just low-down mafia-level diversion bullshit. This isn't rivalry, and Uber/Lyft aren't fucking tech, they're taxi services that HAPPEN to be tied to using a smartphone - guess what Taxi drivers are tied to all day? A smartphone AND a CB radio AND a bunch of other shit that makes them actually worthy of the tech title.

      Submitter should be stopped from posting any more stories until he figures out exactly what is tech worthy. Of course, given the 7 digit UID, not likely.

      This was on the front page of the business section of the wall street journal today, including the catchy title about a tech rivalry, so if you disagree that they are tech companies, don't blame the submitter.

      From my point of view, Uber and Lyft are using technology to try to disrupt a huge industry, which makes them more interesting than yet another social network or phone app that hopes to live off monetizing users through ads.

  • That is the risk of an unregulated market. Unregulated markets can be very dysfunctional. See Microsoft as an example of a monopoly developing when there are no regulation of software licensing to hardware manufacturers.

  • by supernova87a (532540) <kepler1@nOspAm.hotmail.com> on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @12:35PM (#47656355)
    One very simple reason I never use Lyft over UberX: Lyft refuses to put in a fare estimation tool.

    So even if they could be possibly cheaper than Uber or a taxi, I'm not going to get in a Lyft not knowing even roughly how much it's going to cost.

    I have no idea why they choose not to be transparent about even a rough estimate of my ride cost. Saying that the per-city rate table on their website satisfies that function is a joke.
  • by MisterBlue (98835) on Tuesday August 12, 2014 @01:04PM (#47656657) Homepage

    This is why taxi licenses were created originally: there were taxi wars. People were getting shot for picking someone up in someone else's 'turf'. Taxi companies fought over turf and drivers and with guns and billy clubs. Add to that a few passengers getting cheated and robbed and eventually a city would step in and bring it under control with licensing and regulations. That the licenses eventually became a valuable item and an industry in themselves is a different story.

    Uber and Lyft are re-doing what the original drive-for-hire people did that got them regulated in the first place.

A committee is a life form with six or more legs and no brain. -- Lazarus Long, "Time Enough For Love"

Working...