Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on T Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on Twitter, Angel List, LinkedIn.
Private car booking service Uber has never been one to shy away from a fight with competitors — the company has run some pretty dirty tricks in New York, for example — but now it is really upping the ante on Lyft and others after offering drivers from rival services $500 in hard cash, just for trying UberX out.
“This month, we’re rolling out incentives and referral programs to prove it to every driver who joins Uber. For drivers currently on another ridesharing platform, we’re offering new partners $500 after they do just one trip on uberX. For drivers already partnering with Uber, you can earn $500 just for referring someone new from another ridesharing platform,” the company writes on its blog.
Last December, TechCrunch reported that Uber was wooing Lyft drivers with an offer for $50 of free gas and a $500 bonus for picking up 20 UberX customers within the month. Now the company’s confidence is higher still — “drivers on Uber make more money than with any other ridesharing platform or taxi company. Period,” it says in the blog post — and it’s going all out with the $500 for a single trip offer.
Uber has been expanding at a rapid clip this year, and it recently launched in its 100th city worldwide, although UberX is not operational in all of those. Yet, Lyft is also preparing to branch out overseas, having raised a $250 million round of funding last month, which included an investment from Chinese giant Alibaba.
Lyft has some way to go to match Uber’s global footprint, but it has the cash and partners to get that push started and increase the rivalry.
Uber cites its insurance coverage for ridesharing and a recently introduced vehicle financing program as further reasons why “entrepreneurs” (in this case drivers) should work for the company. It claims UberX drivers can earn $100,000 per year.
Related: Uber adds $1 “Safe Rides Fee” to UberX rides to pay for background checks and insurance
Image via Adam Fagen / Flickr
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