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Why I’m Not Deleting the Uber App

Shortly after the executive order regarding the “Muslim Ban” was issued on Friday, thousands of people began flooding to airports across the country to protest. In response to the order, the New York Taxi Workers Alliance announced a 1-hour work stoppage at JFK. When Uber continued to offer rides out of JFK, protesters became incensed and started boycotting Uber. What followed was a firestorm of tweets, with the hashtag #deleteuber trending on Twitter. But is this boycott really justified?

Uber and Lyft rideshare apps

To start, I want to say I commend anyone who exercises their right to express dissent – whether it’s towards the government or a corporation. I admire people who participate in shaping their communities. In many countries around the world, including those affected by this executive order, people either don’t have that right or face severe retribution. So we should commend people for being actively involved in causes they believe in, regardless of whether we agree with them or not.

That being said, I’m totally perplexed by this Uber boycott. I don’t even understand why the taxi union boycotted the airport. It didn’t hurt Trump, it didn’t hurt the administration – it left passengers stranded at the airport and cost taxi drivers thousands of dollars in fares. The way I see it, Uber isn’t part of the taxi union, so they had no obligation to follow suit. And the fact that they continued to service JFK Airport during the 1-hour taxi boycott, helping travelers get home to their families, is commendable. More so because they didn’t even charge surge prices, which if they had, would have helped me understand the outcry better. 

Those boycotting Uber are also accusing the company’s CEO of colluding with Trump. I don’t see it that way. Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, is a member of Trump’s business advisory committee. He has in the past expressed a willingness to work with “anyone in the world” to “[make] transportation in cities better.” That’s a pretty neutral political position.

Regardless of whether you support the current administration or not, it’s important for the two major political parties to continue working together to shape this country’s infrastructure. The worst thing we can do is shut each other out because of political beliefs. It doesn’t solve anything, it doesn’t help the other side see the error in their ways. Collaboration is the only way to ensure that a government that is supposed to be representative of all citizens is exactly that. Perhaps now more than ever, people have to be open to hearing opinions that are different than their own. 

So while I have my qualms with Uber over other issues, I don’t see a need to delete the Uber app over what has transpired over the last few days. I almost pity them for how they’ve continued to try and appease people, with their repeated announcements of financial support for affected drivers, a $3 million legal defense fund, and reiterating their commitment to a diverse, inclusive community. I don’t think they were wrong in continuing to service JFK airport while the taxi union was boycotting. The outcry is completely disproportional. And while Uber’s CEO may be working with the Trump administration, there’s no evidence that he owns a white robe and pointy hat. All of that aside, I do prefer Lyft over Uber. 🙂

Have you deleted the Uber app to boycott the company’s action at JFK? Please comment below.

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Ariana Arghandewal

24 Comments

  1. I will not delete the app and I agree with you, Ariana! Folks need a way to get to and from the airport and transportation provides a vital source of income to the drivers – typically folks that need this income the most. I am with you on this one even in a $2 for 1 point SPG environment (not trying to make this lighthearted) I am not deleting my Uber app.

    • Thanks for your feedback, Steve. It’s definitely my main reason for supporting their decision – they helped a lot of folks get home when their options were limited.

  2. Would be nice if they all quit for good and let Uber and Lyft take it over completely. Tired of the whiners, the protests and the entitlements. Love to see the yellow cabs go away.

    Of course it’s a racial/cultural issue implied here. Radicals from middle east are responsible for most of the the terrorism in the world. Numbers don’t lie.

    I think people should all hail a cab as they are eating a bacon or ham sandwich and see if they get picked up.

    • What does “radicals from the Middle East” being responsible for most terrorism in the world have to do with taxi unions boycotting the immigration ban? Are you suggesting the cab drivers are affiliated with terrorist? I’m pretty sure taxi drivers are too busy trying to earn a living to inspect the contents of your sandwich, so your attempt at a clever, subtly racist dig gets a D-.

      • Now days if you’re a tech company in CA, you need to go with the flow. The flow is to the left. If you’re not going with the flow then you’ll be persecuted. Equality and acceptance is only afforded to those companies who go with the flow. It’s preposterous to think that Uber didn’t do enough. Lyft used 1 million dollars of investor money to donate to the ACLU, while Uber is being blamed that the CEO didn’t say enough.

    • TXOMIN,

      And we invade Iraq, destroy the country, kill over 100,000 innocent Iraqis (Muslims) and that is acceptable since it was done by a civilized country?

  3. One of the reason Uber is “not so innocent” is that they are in close collusion w/ right wing politicians. Guess why?? To destroy the Taxi Union who votes mainly for Democratic candidates. That is what happened in Austin. The rightwing flooded the mailings to defeat a proposal to fingerprint the drivers. Even though Uber said they will respect the vote and will still serve, they still complained and then left.
    Same thing Koch Brothers did or still trying to do with the USPS (colluding with the Senators to force USPS prefund future hires retirement and then bankrupting them)…

  4. Hi Ariana, thanks for a calm post! Seems almost everyone is totally losing it these days. Please let’s let things unfold with the new administration and see where things lay. Remember about half of our fellow american friends and family voted for the new administration. Let’s not hate! No one wins with hate.

  5. That piece of s**t Travis only cares about lining his pockets with money and NOT about “the future of transportation” or the environment.
    Uber lies to drivers and exploits them! They make people drive for LESS than minimum wage, by lieing to them! They play “games” with drivers and take their money!
    Screw Uber and screw Travis!

    • Welcome to the real world Robert. That’s what every company does.

      Go to silicon valley, almost all company CEO earning billions/millions and give peanuts to their employees.

      Who in the right mind will say anyone is worth million times more than their employees???

      • That’s actually not accurate. Tech company employees earn more than any other industry. But yes, low-level contractors (i.e. Uber drivers, food delivery contractors, etc.) get paid nothing.

  6. Ariana,

    I understand your point but wanted to clarify a few of the facts here:

    –Uber was aware of the hourlong strike at JFK because they were invited to participate
    –During the strike, Uber continued offering rides with surge pricing in place (there is almost always surge pricing for JFK pickups)
    –Immediately after the strike, Uber turned off surge pricing, undercutting the prices of the taxi drivers returning to work.

    Given that Uber is in constant conflict with cabs and the typical hostile attitude of its CEO, people concluded that Uber was taking advantage of the strike for profit. I don’t actually know if this is the case. As the CEO mentioned, Uber relies on low-cost labor from these countries just as much as taxi companies. That said, add this incident to the fact that the CEO donated to Trump and is advising him, it was more than enough reason for myself and others to delete the app, at least for time being.

    • Thanks for clarifying that, Chris. I was not aware that they had implemented surge pricing and had basically tried to screw over the taxi drivers post-strike. I have my issues with Uber and agree, they’re involved in some shady practices. Which is why I generally try to use Lyft when possible.

  7. And to all of you people using this page to make political comments…just STOP. I was under the impression that earning points through mild money-laundering was as apolitical as it gets.

    • I disagree, Chris. Now more than ever, people need to be involved in the political process and voice their opinions. Not discussing politics is what happens in countries controlled by totalitarian regimes. (see today’s post).

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