By Roger Fingas
Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 06:27 am PT (09:27 am ET)
Ridesharing service Lyft has updated its iPhone app with support for iOS Calendar destinations, apparently just in time to take advantage of a boycott of its main competitor, Uber, over the company’s response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration executive order.
Addresses from Calendar must have a complete address including a street, city, and zip code in order for the new feature to work. Once this is done, users can hit “Add from calendar” when picking a destination, and the app will let them select an upcoming event to go to.
While the option is currently limited to the native iOS Calendar app, Lyft noted that people using a third-party alternative like Google Calendar can still take advantage so long as it syncs data to iOS.
The company said it’s also planning to add more saved shortcuts in the future, making it possible to route to places other than home or the workplace.
App Store surge
Lyft has climbed substantialy in App Store rankings since Friday, Jan. 27 —when Trump instituted bans for several Muslim-majority countries —rising from around 50th place into the top 10, TechCrunch observed. As of Tuesday morning it’s sitting at #8.
As the weekend began, the New York Taxi Workers Alliance called on all drivers to stop picking up fares at JFK between 6 and 7 p.m. on Jan. 28, as a means of protesting Trump. Uber, however, coincidentally informed people that it had shut off surge pricing at the airport, and in an apology shared with TechCrunch said only that it wasn’t trying to disrupt the protest.
Uber’s failure to join in led to a “#DeleteUber” campaign on Twitter, spread further by celebrities like Rob Corddry, Taraji Henson, and Denis O’Hare. Some people objected not just to its response to the JFK incident, but CEO Travis Kalanick serving on Trump’s economic advisory board. Some other people on that team include Tesla/SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Disney CEO Bob Iger, and Walmart CEO Doug McMillon.
Lyft appears to be benefiting partly because it was quick to pledge $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union over four years. Kalanick decried the travel ban on Sunday, and promised to set up a $3 million defense fund to help affected drivers, but apparently too late to affect App Store numbers.