Another question mark on ethical Uber’s business practices just popped up. This time, it has been reported that Uber secretly tracked drivers of Lyft using an internal software which they called ‘Hell’. Uber and Lyft are competitors, especially in USA. Let us dive deep to find out about these companies do and how exactly it happened.
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Lyft launched its car transportation mobile app in 2012. The company is operating in approximately 300 cities across USA. It provides almost 18.7 million rides in a month which is a big reason to worry for its biggest competitor, Uber. Largely Lyft offers four types of rides which are
Lyft Line: If passengers are going to the same direction then they can choose this option to save some money.
Lyft: Very basic offering which matches passengers with nearby drivers.
Lyft Plus: Six seater service for passengers
Lyft Premier: Luxury car service for passengers
Uber is a well-known name in transportation network. It operates in approximately 570 cities worldwide. Officially Uber app was launched in 2011 Some of the key features which makes it popular are: it is flexible with different payment modes across the globe, has a dynamic pricing structure and its availability in the different parts of the world is quite something.
What exactly was Uber tracking using ‘Hell’:
Hell, not only helped Uber see how many Lyft drivers were available for rides and what were their prices, but also to figure out which drivers were double-dipping by driving both Uber and Lyft. It made it easier for Uber to offer those drivers extra incentives to switch to drive for Uber exclusively.
Why it is called ‘Hell’ and how it worked:
Uber has a tool for tracking customer’s location which is called ‘God view’ also known as ‘Heaven’ it was infamously misused by Uber employees to stalk journalists, celebrities and ex-girlfriends. Hell, originated when Uber created fake rider accounts on Lyft and then used the software to trick Lyft’s system into thinking those riders were in certain locations. This allowed Uber to see eight closest available drivers of Lyft to each fake rider created by Uber.
An Uber spokesman told The Information that company will not publicly discuss its internal processes, while Lyft said “We are in a competitive industry. However, if true, these allegations are very concerning.”
In the end, ethical business environment is a requirement for every business. Uber is no exception. If it wants to stay alive in the long run, it must mend its ways. Both outside (and inside) its offices!