After a series of unfortunate incidents for Uber, its main rival Lyft is surging in the market.
Bloomberg has reported that company’s gross booking grew 25% to more than $1 billion in the second quarter from more than $800 million in the previous period. That is a faster rate than Uber, which told investors that it expected its growth projections to be in the mid-teens for the same period.
Uber has been dogged by controversy for a number of months. Earlier this year, Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick, was caught on film beating one his own drivers. The public criticised the attitude of Kalanick towards his own drivers. It was also discovered that Uber, for over two years, was shortchanging their own drivers, with losses to drivers amounting to tens of millions of dollars.
Emil Michael, SVP of Business at Uber, and possibly the second most important figure in the company resigned amid controversy surrounding the organisation. Emil Michael’s departure comes in the wake of a report delivered to the board of Uber on Sunday which recommended him parting ways with the company. Covington & Burling, a leading law firm, carried out an investigation into practices in the company, initiated earlier this year. Following a blog, written by a former employee, Susan Fowler, Uber investigated alleged practices within their organisation.
Positive Spin for Lyft
In contrast, Lyft has received positive coverage for its innovation. Earlier this month, Lyft announced that it was receiving over one million rides per day. This figure puts it in direct competition with Uber. Effectively, it has carried out as many rides in the first half of 2017, as it did in the entire of 2016.
When Donald Trump announced his foreign travel ban in early 2017, New York taxi drivers responded by going on strike. The taxi drivers union refused to collect fares from New York’s airports in protest at the discriminatory measure. Uber sought to take advantage of the situation by undercutting the striking drivers. Lyft’s response was to donate $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union.
Lyft has endeavoured to move into the innovative space. The company has teamed up with automotive companies to work on technology for self-driving cars. As part of this new departure, Lyft is opening a 50,000 square foot space in Palo Alto, California. This will be an area for engineers to develop technology to make such innovation a practical reality.
Both Lyft and Uber have been successful in raising capital for their respective ventures. Uber raised $14 billion from over 70 capital venture funds. It has gained a valuation of $69 billion, making it the most successful start-up in history. Lyft has not been left behind in the race either. It has raised $2.6 billion from investors.
While Lyft’s growth has been promising, it is somewhat behind Uber in terms of market share. Yet Lyft could be the winner in the battle for hearts and minds of consumers. While Uber has led the way in ride sharing services, Lyft has the possibility of outshining them. When it comes to public relations, the underdog is certainly competing.