Lyft gains on Uber while taxis tank, sur­vey finds

USA TODAY Weekend Extra - - TECH - Marco della Cava @mar­codel­la­cava USA TO­DAY

“If you’re a taxi provider, you’ve got to get a new game plan.” Robert Neveu, CEO of ex­pense man­age­ment soft­ware com­pany Cer­tify

SAN FRAN­CISCO Lyft has chipped away at the mar­ket share held by its much larger ride-hail­ing ri­val, Uber, at least when it comes to busi­ness trav­el­ers.

Af­ter notch­ing slight gains in the sec­ond through fourth quar­ters of 2016, Lyft’s share jumped nearly 3 per­cent­age points quar­ter-to-quar­ter in Q1 and Q2 of this year, from 7.7% at the end of 2016 to 9.8% in the first quar­ter and 12.5% in the sec­ond.

That’s the same pe­riod in which Uber has been grap­pling with an in­ces­sant stream of is­sues rang­ing from charges of sex­ual dis­crim­i­na­tion to in­ves­ti­ga­tions into ques­tion­able busi­ness prac­tices.

The data come from a sur­vey of busi­ness users’ credit card spend­ing out Thurs­day from ex­pense man­age­ment soft­ware com­pany Cer­tify, which an­a­lyzed data from 10 mil­lion re­ceipts and ex­penses pro­vided by 2,500 cor­po­rate clients.

De­spite Lyft’s im­prove­ment, Uber con­tin­ues to have a dom­i­nant po­si­tion in the U.S. ride­hail­ing game, with 87.5% of the mar­ket, ac­cord­ing to Cer­tify.

Michael Good­win, head of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment at Uber for Busi­ness, sug­gested Cer­tify’s data likely did not pro­vide a full pic­ture of Uber’s cor­po­rate busi­ness.

“We are see­ing more or­ga­ni­za­tions part­ner with us be­cause we can pro­vide a cen­tral­ized bill, which elim­i­nates the need for rides to flow through ex­pense plat­forms in the first place,” Good­win told USA TO­DAY.

Lyft is also push­ing to woo busi­ness cus­tomers. Both Lyft and Uber have in­te­gra­tions with Cer­tify; ex­pense ac­count pro­cess­ing is made eas­ier when a trav­eler opts for an in­te­grated part­ner.

“Our goal is to pro­vide re­li­able, easy-to-adopt and cost-ef­fec­tive trans­porta­tion so­lu­tions to make Lyft the pre­ferred part­ner for busi­nesses,” David Baga, Lyft’s chief busi­ness of­fi­cer, told USA TO­DAY.

While Uber may have ceded some pas­sen­gers to Lyft, it has still man­aged to grow largely by raid­ing busi­nesses that used to be busi­ness trav­eler main­stays: rental cars and taxis.

When fac­tor­ing in the losses to those trans­porta­tion cat­e­gories, Uber and Lyft in­creased their share of the busi­ness trans­porta­tion mar­ket by 2 per­cent­age points last quar­ter, ac­cord­ing to Cer­tify data. The car rental in­dus­try’s share of the mar­ket dropped 2 per­cent­age points to 29%, and taxis dropped 2 points to 8%.

“If you’re a taxi provider, you’ve got to get a new game plan,” Cer­tify CEO Robert Neveu said.

Uber has a mar­ket val­u­a­tion of nearly $70 bil­lion com­pared to Lyft’s $7 bil­lion.

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