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lyft-pinkIn what’s turning out to be a transportation startup version of Ali vs. Frazier, Uber and Lyft are exchanging some painful public punches at one another.

First, Lyft said on Monday that 177 Uber employees had ordered and then canceled 5,560 Lyft rides in the past year in order to lower the amount of available Lyft drivers on the road, while also wasting the time of those drivers.

Today, Uber came back and claimed that Lyft employees — including its co-founder — canceled 12,900 trips while using Uber’s app. Here’s a statement from Uber, which includes some inside information about Lyft’s investors:

Lyft’s claims against Uber are baseless and simply untrue. Furthermore Lyft’s own drivers and employees, including one of Lyft’s founders, have canceled 12,900 trips on Uber. But instead of providing the long list of questionable tactics that Lyft has used over the years, we are focusing on building and maintaining the best platform for both consumers and drivers.

These attacks from Lyft are unfortunate but somewhat expected. A number of Lyft investors have recently been pushing Uber to acquire Lyft. One of their largest shareholders recently warned that Lyft would “go nuclear” if we do not acquire them. We can only assume that the recent Lyft attacks are part of that strategy.

As Mike Isaac at The New York Times reports, there have been talks between the two companies that included a potential Uber acquisition of Lyft. But Isaac notes that those conversations are no longer continuing.

In response to Uber’s response to Lyft’s accusations — yes, this is becoming ridiculous — Lyft provided this statement to GeekWire just now:

Once again Uber is deceiving the public, now with false allegations and an attempt to deflect from their illegal cancel campaign.

Lyft has more than 100 investors, all of whom are extremely excited that Lyft is approaching IPO-level revenue. Our “nuclear” strategy is continuing to take market share with 30% month-over-month growth, while building the strongest community of drivers and passengers.

uberxLyft and Uber have been locked in a price war ever since the two startups became immensley popular in the past few years. Lyft, which on Monday began taking commissions again, has raised $333 million and is in just over 60 cities, while Uber has raised $1.5 billion and is in more than 100 cities worldwide.

Last week, both companies unveiled a new way for people to carpool with others who are riding on similar routes — UberPool and Lyft Line.

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