Throughout Uber’s rough week following its PR meltdown, competitor Lyft’s been relatively quiet, until it reached out to us today to tell us it’s been having its best week ever — and not just because of schadenfreude.
Although the company isn’t sharing specific numbers, Lyft saw its biggest week in terms of number of rides, a spokesperson told VentureBeat, beating out the previous record week during Halloween. It’s a sign that, perhaps, people might be abandoning Uber in favor of its competitors. While download numbers suggest Uber’s doing fine, it does appear that Uber customers do care about privacy.
Moreover, Lyft responded today with an email to its customers.
The email, titled “The Insider’s Guide to Lyft,” seems to emphasize how safe and fun Lyft is. It explains that while the company has always worked to cultivate a friendly and casual atmosphere by letting passengers sit in the front and fist-bump drivers, none of this is required.
“We wanted to have fun with [the email], especially with new passengers, and make it clear that we want them to be comfortable,” Lyft spokesperson Paige Thelen wrote in an email.
“Obviously we want drivers and passengers to be friendly and to treat each other with respect,” she added, perhaps a thinly veiled reference to accusations of assault by Uber drivers (including sexual assault) and claims that Uber has little regard for the safety and comfort of its drivers and passengers — especially the female ones.
Regarding passenger privacy, Lyft has made a few changes in the way it protects and grants access to passenger records. Per Thelen’s email:
Lyft’s longstanding policy prohibits employees or contractors from accessing any user personal information except to the extent such use is necessary to do their job.
In addition to this policy, all access and updates to user and ride data has been and will continue to be attributed to an authorized user, recorded, and available for audit internally as part of maintaining our stringent privacy standards.
As Lyft grows, we continue to review and refine our privacy practices. Last week, we proactively made additional updates to further safeguard our community members’ privacy, including the development of tiered access controls that further limit access to user data to a smaller subset of employees and contractors. Ride location data is restricted to an even smaller subset of people.
As we covered last week, taxi-hailing app Flywheel recently raised a new round of funding, also capitalizing on the recent anti-Uber sentiments. It would be interesting to see if Flywheel and Sidecar have also seen similar bumps in usage this past week.
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