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Uber Employees Allegedly Tricked Lyft Drivers By Canceling Thousands Of Fake Ride Requests

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Uber is in the hot seat after new data provided by Lyft shows Uber employees have ordered and canceled more than 5,000 ride from Lyft in the last year.

Lyft claims it's not just a couple of bad eggs. Records suggest at least 177 Uber employees around the country have booked and canceled rides since last October, according to CNNMoney.

"It's not just the company that suffers," the CNN report said. "Canceled rides jeopardize income that Lyft drivers depend on -- plus they spend time and gas money en route to passengers who have no intention of taking a ride."

Phone numbers associated with known Uber recruiters were cross-referenced. In total, Lyft claims there were 5,560 fake requests.

One Lyft passenger identified as an Uber recruiter, whose phone number was tied to 21 other accounts, allegedly canceled a total of 1,524 rides.

It's not the first time Uber has been accused of playing dirty. CNNMoney reported earlier this that Uber staffers in New York withdrew over 100 ride requests with another taxi app, Gett, over a three-day period. Following the incident, Uber released a statement that they would "tone down their sales tactics."

But the 5,492 of the canceled rides occurred after that statement was issued, according to the data.

In a statement released Monday, Uber said, "We recruit hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs to build their own small businesses on the Uber platform, where the economic opportunity for drivers is unmatched in the industry."

Lyft spokeswoman Erin Simpson responded with this: "It's unfortunate for affected community members that they have used these tactics, as it wastes a driver's time and impacts the next passenger waiting for that driver. We remain focused on growing the business faster than any competitor through better customer experience and innovation."

On Friday, Uber is testing a new service that will allow customers to share a ride – and split the cost – with another person traveling along a similar route in the Bay Area.

According to a blog post on its website, the company said customers who sign up for a beta version "UberPool" service will be able to request a ride like normal. If Uber finds another rider that is a match, customers are notified of that person's first name. If no match is found, there will still be a discount on the ride.

Meanwhile, traditional taxi companies are continuously struggling to keep up.

CEO Hansu Kim of DeSoto Cab Company, one of the city's oldest, has been operating in San Francisco since the 1930s,  says his industry is hemorrhaging drivers who flee to ridesharing services, using their personal vehicle to offer rides on Uber, Lyft and Sidecar. He added that the taxi industry in its current form may cease to exist by next year.




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