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Uber gets boycotted

Kenna Curry, Editor-in-Chief, The Bagpipe

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Late January, taxi drivers in New York city went on strike to protest Trump’s travel ban on Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, because many of their employees are from these regions. The New York Taxi Workers Alliance urged other driving services to do the same, to protest the travel ban. The result was backlash unforeseen by many people.

Popular car service, Uber, raised prices to drives to and from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. After the surge in prices, citizens in the surrounding area viewed the action as unfair to the taxi services, nullifying the purpose of a strike, and as a blatant act of support for the newly inaugurated president. Further spreading this idea, Travis Kalanick, chief executive of Uber, was asked to join Trump’s economic advisory council. These two events lead to a mass boycott nation wide of Uber services.

The economic outcome for the company was so severe, Kalanick rejected the offer to be on the advisory council, and has since lowered the prices of trips to the airport. Although Uber has responded the primary complaints of their user base, the boycott still persists in smaller number due to the support many believe Uber showed Trump. The event even trended on Twitter, with hashtag #deleteuber being the top tweeted topic.

Customers are now turning to Uber competitor Lyft to receive the service they were previously getting from Uber. Lyft gained more public support by announcing the company would be donating one million dollars to the American Civil Liberties Union. Despite the growing popularity of Lyft, Uber still has an estimated $68 billion value compared to Lyft’s $5.5 billion value. These evaluation may change in the future. Both companies have been active on social media. Uber trying to maintain its subscriber base, and Lyft trying to convert subscribers from Uber to their own company.

Meanwhile, employees for Uber are losing pay. The wealth being taken away from Uber due to the protest affect Kalanick less than the public intends. Instead the people that are being harmed are drivers working for Uber.

Accusations against Uber have been made in the past, with little evidence, but exist none the less and have affected the business. The accusations include that its business model drives down wages and erodes worker protections.

With the heated political season affecting so many companies, Uber has a lot to think about in order to maintain credibility in the public’s eyes.

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Uber gets boycotted