Uber created a secret software system called “Hell” to track drivers from its rival cab-hailing service Lyft, so it could deploy extra drivers in the areas in which they operated, according to reports.
The Hell software was also used to poach drivers from Lyft — offering them incentives to leave.
Details of the program were revealed by technology blog The Information. Uber declined to comment. It is alleged that the program was used from 2014 to early 2016.
The claims emerged after another torrid week for Uber. Rachel Whetstone, its British head of communications who was a close adviser to the under-fire chief executive Travis Kalanick, quit.
Her departure was the latest in a string of executive exits at the $70bn (£56bn) company. Bad publicity has also dented Uber’s brand. It is awaiting the outcome of an internal probe led by the former US attorney-general Eric Holder, launched after a former engineer published claims of sexual harassment.
Lyft, meanwhile, raised $600m last week from investors including Canada’s Public Sector Pension Investment Board and the private equity giant KKR.