A Lyft driver navigates through Potrero Hill in San Francisco.

The battle between Uber and Lyft is heating up, with both San Francisco-based ride-sharing apps accusing each other of underhanded tactics to poach drivers and nab more customers. Most recently, Lyft accused Uber employees of requesting thousands of Lyft rides and then canceling them. What does the rivalry mean for the region, and how does it affect the companies’ current dispute with taxis?

Doug MacMillan, technology reporter for the Wall Street Journal
Dan Brekke, blogger and editor of KQED's News Fix blog

  • Luke

    It’s naive to call Uber and others “ride sharing” services. The drivers are doing it to make money, and the passengers are looking for what they would otherwise call a taxi. That said, I love Uber and am disgusted with the taxi industry which has ignored its customers for years.

  • Cody Landwehr

    In the past, we needed to use medallions to limit the number of taxis, because otherwise there’d be too many clogging the streets circling for riders. Now, with Uber or Lyft, the driver can be off the street, and only get on the street when there’s demand. So, the traffic clogging issue is gone. It’s a great improvement.

    • LOCO SF

      Are you crazy??? Traffic is the worse its ever been in San Francisco. Lyft and Uber have only added thousands of cars to the road.

      • ex_lion_tamer

        And they are mass polluters as well. It’s awful.

  • sfSam111 .

    I live in the Ingleside neighborhood of San Francisco and I don’t bother calling for a taxi because cabs don’t drive out this far to pick up fares. I once waited two hours for a cab that never showed up.
    When I use Lyft, the car is here within 15 minutes and I can track the car on my phone.
    I have no sympathy for the taxi companies.

  • Cody Landwehr

    Uber’s tactic of booking & canceling reservations with their competitor is just immoral. This hurts the ecosystem, as companies offer generous cancellation policies to keep things friendly for consumers. If their competitors abuse that, then the nice policies will stop.

    • ex_lion_tamer

      That hurts the ecosystem? Or is it all of the gas guzzling SUVs they drive that hurt the ecosystem? (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

  • Doug F

    Contrary to what one of the “experts” said, It’s NOT going to take 20-30yr before we see self-driving cars widely available via ride-sharing apps. I’d say 10yr at most, maybe 5. Google cars have already put in millions of self-driven miles (with a human driver just sitting there monitoring) on public roads & never had an accident. It’ll take the state legislature longer to change the laws to accommodate them than it’ll take Google to make the system mass-produced & operational.

  • My View

    I drive Uber almost for 9 months now. For me,It is a big revolution in transportation business. As x Shuttle and taxi driver, I loved Uber service because it allows me to be free from the hassle I used to face everyday from shuttle dispatchers and taxi managements. With Uber I can scheduled my own time and start and end anywhere.
    I love Uber because they consistently update and make our ride easy and convenient to drive, like the navigation and … I preferred Uber over Lyft because I hated the pink mustache. About the income, one can earn up to 100,000 annually,if you will.
    Long live Uber. Thank you
    Ps. By the way when you drive taxi and shuttle, there is a room to hide some of income because cash is involved, However with uber , no cash, just every thing is in your bank account, no chance for that , It doesn’t open any door to abuse the system , the Government should support this big idea


    You better hope you and/or any of your friends and family don’t get hurt in one of those pink moustache cars. Then you will really learn a lot about the different types of vehicle insuranse

    • Grace

      Lyft has $1 million per incident insurance and also provides contingent collision and comprehensive insurance for the drivers.
      There are four coverages included in Lyft insurance policies (unless
      otherwise noted, these coverages are in effect from the time you accept a
      ride request until the time the ride has ended in the app.)

      Commercial Automobile

      Contingent Liability (coverage only while in driver mode waiting for a ride request)

      Contingent Comprehensive & Collision

      Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM)

      • LOCO SF

        Lyft is the judge, jury, and executioner of that insurance. They will first try to get the driver to get their personal insurance to cover it (aka insurance fraud). Then if that doesn’t work they will try they will do there best to deny the claim possibly leaving the driver and/or injured parties in a legal tug of war. Accidents don’t just happen with passengers in the car. Their insurance does not take into account other types of fatalities. EG: the 2014 NYE tragedy of Sophie Liu. Google it…you might learn something. The reason commercial vehicle insurance is different from personal car insurance is because a commercial vehicle by its very nature is much more likely to be involved in an accident. No matter if the vehicle is on the clock or not. Lyft just chews up and spits out the drivers as they please. They don’t care if the driver risk their personal assets to have fun playing taxi. Its for the drivers best interest. plain and simple. 24/7 commercial insurance is the only way

  • laughtiger

    If two city-licensed cab companies engaged in behavior like this against each other, there would be a public outcry and the MTA would be called on to do something about it. There would likely be fines and firings.

    But as far as Uber and Lyft are concerned, there are no adults in the room. They will never be made responsible for this crazy, destructive behavior, any more than anything else they do.

    The moral is simple — the city should have jurisdiction over its own cab system!

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