Lyft makes gains against Uber on expense reports

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Lyft has nearly doubled its share of the business market, to 19 percent of business travel expenses in the U.S. in the first quarter of the year, compared to 10 percent a year ago, according to a new report -- but it's still far behind its rival Uber.

The report, from the travel and entertainment expense software provider Certify, found that use of Uber among business travelers declined year over year for the fourth consecutive year. In contrast, use of Lyft among business travelers has been increasing steadily since 2014, when it made up only 1 percent of the business traveler ride-hailing market. Lyft’s growth has been at the expense of Uber, although Uber still dominates with an 81 percent share of the business market in the first quarter of 2018. However, that’s a decline from the 90 percent it possessed in the first quarter of 2017 and 95 percent in the same period in 2016.

One cause of Uber’s decline has been a series of controversies and management changes at the company in recent years, as it has been rocked by harassment allegations and lawsuits.

“Lyft’s jump is the biggest surprise of Q1,” said Certify president and CEO Robert Neveu in a statement. “As Uber experienced change in its senior leadership team and challenges in various markets, Lyft stayed the course and gained market. It will be very interesting to see if Lyft is able to maintain this level of usage in the business travel space.”

Ride-hailing apps were most popular among business travelers in San Francisco, accounting for 99 percent of the market there, compared to 1 percent for taxis in the first quarter of this year. Dallas came in second, at 91 percent, followed by Los Angeles and Boston, with ride-hailing apps accounting for 89 percent of transactions. Chicago and New York still have the biggest proportion of taxi use, but even in those cities, ride-hailing apps made up almost 75 percent of all business traveler ground transportation receipts and expenses in the first quarter.

The quarterly Certify SpendSmart report also tracks use of other kinds of business travel expenses, including airlines, hotels and restaurants. Here are the results for Q1 2018:

The most commonly used airlines for business travelers are:

  • Delta
  • American Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines

The most commonly used hotels for business travelers are:

  • Hampton Inn
  • Marriott
  • Courtyard By Marriott

The most commonly used restaurants for business travelers are:

  • Starbucks
  • McDonald’s
  • Panera Bread
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