Personal politics and business deals aren’t the only issues on the line anymore when it comes to the fabled fight between Uber and Lyft, the two biggest ride-sharing apps in the US (among other countries worldwide).
Bay Area app developers have been following the conflict for years, but the issue just took a sharp turn into real-world politics as President Trump’s widely-denounced immigration ban put the apps on the frontlines of an airport transportation boycott.
Uber quickly became the subject of a trending #DeleteUber hashtag on social media platforms, prompting allegedly “tens of thousands” of users and app developers to delete their accounts and remove the app from their phone.
The move came as Uber sent out mass messages warning users of slowdowns in pickups, as the company distanced itself from taxi boycotts during the protests as thousands of green card-carrying travelers were detained and in many cases denied entry to the US.
Uber also came under fire for capping surge pricing. Lyft seized the moment and took the high road, pledging $1 million in donations to the ACLU, and strongly criticizing Uber for their failure to address ongoing airport protests in a meaningful way. Uber, chalking up the issue to poor communication, has since doubled down on saving their image as socially-concious app developers, pledging over $3 million in compensation and assitance for drivers affected by the immigration ban. In an email to employees, Uber also pledged to help with legal fees and council for employees left stranded by the ban.
For now, Lyft seems to be winning the war for most well-regarded ride-share app developers, as embodied in their carefully worded and timely letter to their own community:
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We created Lyft to be a model for the type of community we want our world to be: diverse, inclusive and safe.
This weekend, Trump closed the country’s borders to refugees, immigrants, and even documented residents from around the world based on their country of origin. Banning people of a particular faith or creed, race or identity, sexuality or ethnicity, from entering the U.S. is antithetical to both Lyft’s and our nation’s core values. We stand firmly against these actions, and will not be silent on issues that threaten the values of our community.
We know this directly impacts many of our community members, their families and friends. We stand with you, and are donating $1,000,000 over the next four years to the ACLU to defend our constitution. We ask that you continue to be there for each other – and together, continue proving the power of community.
John & Logan