Ride Fair, a new app that was released earlier this week, is aiming to give users choices when it comes to hailing rides from an app. The mobile app lets users in the U.S. request rides from both Uber and Lyft.
According to a report by Fortune, the idea behind the app is to enable users to compare how soon they can get a ride from the two popular services and whether or not a price surge is happening in either of the services. A surge price is a price hike that happens during busy times. “Surge pricing doesn’t mean you don’t have options,” Phillip Wall, one of Ride Fair’s makers, said in an interview with Fortune. The technology behind the app is able to determine, based on a Ride Fair user’s location, where nearby Uber and Lyft cars are and the estimated time for them to be picked up. Users are then taken to the ride-hailing app to book the ride once they choose which service to use.
The move on the part of Ride Fair is somewhat trailblazing in the fact that both Uber and Lyft haven’t shut it down yet. After all, the two haven’t been too welcoming to apps that try to show both services. According to Fortune, in 2013, Corral Rides created an app to enable consumers to compare prices of ride-hailing apps, but Lyft requested Corral leave it out of the service and it had to remove some Uber information at the request of Uber. Uber has also asked UrbanHail to stop using Uber information, noted the report.
In the Fortune report, Harvard assistant professor Ben Edelman questioned whether the stances on the part of Uber and Lyft when it comes to comparison shopping are fair and wondered if they are legal under antitrust rules. The restriction “is calculated and intended to block competition — a purpose considered improper under competition laws and a special stretch for Uber in light of the company’s positions on related issues of competition and regulation,” said Edelman in an email statement to Fortune.