Lyft boss accuses rival Uber of ‘crossing lines’ and flags Asian expansion

lyftThe founder of US ride sharing app Lyft has predicted driverless cars will lead to lower car ownership, and stoked the rivalry with Uber by saying it has “crossed a handful of lines” in its conduct.

Lyft is available in 65 US cities currently, and has received $800m from investors in a series of funding rounds, with founder Logan Green saying it would be expanding internationally soon, hinting China and Japan are among its first destinations.

But he said it was not too disadvantaged despite rival service Uber’s earlier expansion and the emergence of local versions, pointing to investors Alibaba and Rakuten as giving it a good platform to launch off the back of.

On Uber’s performance internationally he said: “Uber is struggling in a lot of these markets it’s a story that doesn’t get told  lot but they have low single digit market share without the ability to make a dent.”

He added they were “learning a lot from Uber internationally” by observing what was happening in different markets.

But Green said they encouraged drivers to be on both platforms saying the nature of the workers as contractors meant they would naturally have multiple jobs.

He also said his own Uber account had been “disabled”, but declined to go into specifics about the rivalry between the companies as there was a court action pending over the move of one senior Lyft executive to Uber, allegedly with sensitive documents.

On the nature of the engagement with workers Green said it was beneficial to people who wanted to earn money but be flexible, saying they could choose when they drove and pointing to statistics that 60 per cent of drivers in Los Angeles were in the creative industries while the same percentage in San Francisco were entrepreneurs raising cash to pursue their ambitions.

He said the shift towards collaborative apps like ride sharing was showing the economy was “shifting” and adding it was “creating more disposable income, and the social fabric of our society deepens more than people riding alone.”

Asked about self-driving cars he said they are still some way off, but they would lead a “radical” rethink of cities as ownership rates dropped and people ordered services for specific journeys as they needed.

Alex Hayes in Austin

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