Lyft got some positive press over the negativity surrounding Uber this week. While the market-leading Uber was lambasted for seemingly undermining an anti-Trump protest, Lyft was the big winner. Indeed, for the first time ever, Lyft is being downloaded more than Uber.
The cause of this change? A single misguided tweet and the perception (at least) that Uber was siding with President Donald Trump over his controversial immigration law.
His executive order on Friday banned the entry of immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim countries from entering the US. The order is set for 90 days, with Syrians banned indefinitely. In a twist to the story, Uber has received criticism for its response to the order, while rival company Lyft has won praise.
New York cab drivers joined in a protest against Trump’s order at JFK International Airport on Friday. However, Uber sent out a tweet saying that the company had suspended its surge pricing during this time. This essentially means customers could get a ride at the normal fare, which many consumers saw as Uber undermining the protest.
Ride-share competitor Lyft, on the other hand, kept out of the situation. However, the company did donate $1 million towards the American Civil Liberties Union. Lyft says the donation will be made over the next four years.
Since then, a snowball has gathered around Uber. While other tech giants like Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft have criticized Trump, Uber seemingly decided to capitalize on the protest in the bid to make a quick buck.
Considering the anger surrounding the executive order, it was foolish at best and calculating and unsympathetic at worst. The extent of backlash against Uber has already moved to Canada, where an Edmonton campaign to delete the Uber app is gathering pace. For what it’s worth, Uber apologized for the incident, but many customers seem unwilling to forgive and forget.
It is also worth noting that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick took the controversial decision to serve as an advisor to President Trump.
Of course, Uber rode to huge success and has ruffled a number of feathers over the last few years. Needless to say, there are a great many who are relishing the company’s current bad press. There is no evidence that the company is under and lasting risk, but Uber will want to clear up this issue quickly.
In the meantime, Lyft is reaping the rewards.
“This weekend, Trump closed the country’s borders to refugees, immigrants, and even documented residents from around the world based on their country of origin,” Lyft said in a statement Sunday. “Banning people of a particular faith or creed, race or identity, sexuality or ethnicity, from entering the U.S. is antithetical to both Lyft’s and our nation’s core values. We stand firmly against these actions, and will not be silent on issues that threaten the values of our community.”