If you’ve ever wondered how many Ubers and Lyfts are on San Francisco streets at a given time, you’re not alone but you are out of luck. Both rideshare companies keep such data under wraps, probably because they’re embroiled in a Battle Royale with each other, the city, and the taxi industry and need every bit of tactical legerdemain they can muster.
reports, a panel discussion on Monday elicited a sometimes perplexing array of mission statements and PR marmalade. Curtis Rogers, Lyft’s national accounts manager, identified his company’s “end goal” as reducing car ownership but didn’t say whether that also means reducing car trips.
Rogers added that Lyft doesn’t want to compete with Muni. “We’re just one more piece to the puzzle,” he said.
Such statements gloss over the company’s history of aggressively targeting Muni. In 2013, for example, Lyft, still in startup mode, proposed to buy 68 Muni buses
from the city and take over operating crowded routes such as 38 Geary, 30 Stockton, and 14 Mission. Ron Conway, America’s favorite venture capitalist, was essentially stage-whispering that he’d buy out Muni and turn it into a private fleet. (This being well before Google and Leap tainted the whole notion of private buses for a certain subset of San Franciscans.)