The competition between ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft is getting nasty.
Uber employees have intentionally ordered and cancelled more than 5,000 rides from rival Lyft since last October, according to data provided by Lyft.
CNNMoney requested and obtained the data from Lyft. This is apparently the latest salvo in the tactics by Uber to seize control of the ride-on-demand market.
Lyft claims 177 Uber employees around the country have booked and canceled rides since October. And even when Uber employees don’t cancel, Lyft drivers have complained that they take “short, low-profit rides” to lure Lyft drivers over to Uber.
But last-minute cancellations in big numbers is what can do real damage to a competitor.
Phony ride requests diminish Lyft drivers’ availability, which could send ride seekers to Uber instead. Canceled rides also reduces the income on which Lyft drivers depend. They spend time and gas money en route to passengers who have no intention of taking a ride.
Lyft said it has linked phone numbers associated with known Uber recruiters with those attached to accounts that have canceled rides. Overall, they found 5,560 phantom requests since October 3, 2013, CNNMoney reports.