By Dakota Connell-Ledwon
You’ve probably used Uber, the ride-sharing app that lets you order a car to pick you up at your exact location. But there’s a new competitor in town–Lyft expanded its operations to South Bend last Thursday.
In a comparison of Google searches using Google Trends, Uber remained dominant after Lyft’s launch.
The graph shows that Google searches for Lyft increased after its launch at noon on Jan. 26–perhaps because the company advertised a $5 coupon promotion for riders beforehand–and searches for Uber were still higher but comparable at the time.
Over the weekend, thousands of protestors gathered at JFK airport to oppose President Trump’s executive order banning refugees and travelers from seven largely Muslim countries. While taxis joined the protest by striking and refusing to pick up passengers from JFK, Uber continued service–and even turned off surge pricing.
Lyft continued to operate as well, but kept surge pricing on and pledged $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union. Uber’s actions spawned a boycott of the company around the country. But as the Lyft trend generally follows the same pattern as the Uber trend in the graph, it’s a small possibility that the boycott has affected Uber’s business in South Bend.
Moving into the weekend, the gap between searches for the two companies widened, with Uber peaking early in the morning on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Lyft experienced similar but much smaller peaks.
A city with multiple universities such as the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University South Bend is rich ground for ride-sharing companies. Freshman at the University of Notre Dame are prohibited from having a car on campus during their first semester. Students without cars have utilized Uber or taxi companies to get around in the past.
Google Trends will be useful in following interest in Lyft over the coming weeks–will it continue rising in popularity and cut into Uber’s ride-sharing monopoly on South Bend? Or will it fail to take off?