As bad as the #DeleteUber movement has been for the ride-sharing giant and CEO Travis Kalanick, it’s been just as good for their main rival, Lyft.
While Lyft’s net worth is dwarfed by Uber by a factor of at least 10, it saw a surge in popularity in late January and early February as Uber was hammered by social media users for Kalanick’s role in President Donald Trump’s economic advisory forum and accusations that the company tried to undermine a taxi strike against Trump’s executive order on immigration.
While the #DeleteUber campaign cost the ride-sharing giant around 200,000 accounts, per the New York Times, Lyft promised to donate $1 million to the ACLU, a move that was praised by liberal activists.
According to the Washington Post, Lyft ridership increased by 30 percent at the time, while Uber ridership dropped 10 percent. Lyft also had a seven percent growth in new customers in the 30 days after Trump’s immigration ban.
But now, as Uber continues to reel from accusations of sexual harassment, low wages for drivers and a host of other controversies, one Lyft executive has jumped ship for the Trump administration.
As first reported by Reuters on Thursday, Lyft general manager for Southern California operations Derek Kan has been nominated to serve as undersecretary of transportation for policy under Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. The move was later confirmed by USA Today.
Kan’s move is hardly surprising, given that he used to serve as an adviser for Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, who is married to Chao, per Mashable. However, it does seem to be at odds with the company’s description of itself as “woke” and values-based, which President John Zimmer said in an interview with Time.
“In our minds, there’s been a contrast in the values, there’s been a contrast in the type of business we’re building,” Zimmer said of the differences between Uber and Lyft. “And so we weren’t shocked that there was a contrast. There’s been that contrast.”
The public outcry eventually forced Kalanick to resign from the economic advisory forum. However, critics have already argued before news of Kan’s nomination that the public outrage was inconsistent and overly harsh towards Uber. Noted conservatives Peter Thiel and Carl Icahn, who both support and advise Trump on Silicon Valley issues, are also investors in Lyft, per CNN.