Christina Shatzen gets into a Lyft car driven by Nancy Tcheou in San Francisco on Jan. 4, 2013. New market research suggests that Lyft may be winning customers from Uber since a recent run of controversy. (Jeff Chiu/Associated Press)

Uber’s recent stumbles could be giving Lyft a chance to gain ground in the ride-hailing market as customers shift allegiance, new market data suggest.

The study comes as Uber has been dealing with a run of bad news.

Lyft’s customer base has grown by 7 percent just since Jan. 29, when Lyft attempted to capitalize on controversy over the Trump administration’s executive order temporarily halting immigration from certain countries, according to 1010data, a New York City-based market research firm.

1010data says the shift in customer allegiance coincides with a decision by Lyft to donate $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) over four years to fight the travel ban. The ACLU has vowed to fight Trump’s travel ban affecting immigrants from several Muslim-majority countries and refugees.


Uber driver Regan Rucker drives a customer home in Washington in April 2014. (Evelyn Hockstein for The Washington Post)

About the same time, as the order went into effect, Uber was seen as trying to undermine a protest against the same executive order by New York City cabdrivers — a charge the San Francisco-based company denied.

In fact, it didn’t seem to matter that Uber later said it had turned off surge pricing near the site of the protest to avoid profiting from it. It didn’t help that Uber co-founder and chief executive Travis Kalanick was among Trump’s business advisers, even though Lyft has ties to investor Peter Thiel, another Trump ally.


Uber has lost customers to Lyft since late January, just about the time several controversies involving Uber began, new market data suggest. (Courtesy of 1010data)

It’s not clear whether this is just a temporary blip. The data analytics company notes that although Lyft is growing at a faster rate, Uber remains the ride-hailing giant by having arranged about 86 percent of all app-based rides since 2014.


Market data suggest that some ride-hailing customers started switching from Uber to Lyft in January, about the time that Lyft’s co-founder pledged to give $1 million to the ACLU over four years because of controversy surrounding the Trump administration’s immigration ban. (Courtesy of 1010data)

Still, the firm’s data put numbers on the power of politics to influence a sales pitch — or show, at least, that the company knows who its audience is.

1010data said in a statement that its data are sifted from “a number of sources of consumer spending data representing millions of consumers” in online and offline retail markets.

Gabrielle Jasinski, a spokeswoman for 1010data, says the study was not commissioned by either ride-hailing company and that 1010data has no affiliation with either company.

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