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Lyft CEO on Pending Uber Lawsuit: ‘They’ve Crossed a Handful of Lines’

Lyft CEO Logan Green isn't Uber's biggest fan.


Lyft CEO Logan Green is — surprise, surprise — not a big fan of competitor Uber.

Uber has developed a reputation for using questionable tactics to recruit both drivers and passengers in its battle with Lyft. It has offered Lyft drivers hundreds of dollars to switch services. It has reportedly requested and then canceled rides with the sole intention of keeping Lyft drivers off the road (a charge Uber denies).

And currently, the two companies are doing battle over a former executive who left Lyft for Uber and, according to Lyft, took confidential documents with him.

“[Uber has] crossed a handful of lines,” Green said onstage during a keynote at South By Southwest Interactive Monday afternoon. “There’s a lawsuit pending.”

Okay, so not the most aggressive stance you could take, but Green also spent time calling out Uber for “following” Lyft into the market on multiple products, including general ride-sharing (which Uber markets as UberX) and multi-passenger pickups, known as Lyft Line for Lyft and Uber Pool for Uber.

Despite the striking similarities between the two services, Green tried to draw a distinction. He focused on the company’s mission, saying Lyft was about getting more cars off the road, not changing the taxi industry.

“We have completely different visions for the world, and we operate very differently,” he said. “Uber’s original motto was ‘Everyone’s Private Driver.’ Most of the population cannot afford a private driver. What we’re doing is relentlessly innovating to bring the price point down.”

Of course, that’s hard to see from a product standpoint, but the message was clear: Lyft wants nothing to do with Uber.

Green was also asked about the company’s finances. Lyft took over $500 million in new venture funding last week, and minutes before Logan stepped onstage, TechCrunch broke a story claiming Lyft won’t be profitable for another year.

Green didn’t comment on the company’s profitability timetable, but did say that Lyft is profitable in a handful of major markets, including San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Why does the company need so much money? To bring drivers and passengers to the platform, Green said. Lyft will offer new users free rides, or pay drivers as much as $1,000 (as it did in Colorado) to sign up.

If you exclude the free rides, or promotions like $2.25 Lyft Line rides in San Francisco, Green says the company’s base product, a simple passenger pickup and drop-off, is still good business. “Almost every ride we’re profitable on,” he said. “We make money on every ride.”

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